BASIC BERRY JAM
8-quart, heavy-bottomed, stainless steel or copper-clad kettle
1- and 2-cup measuring cups
4-cup measuring bowl
1 large bowl
1 long-handled wooden spoon
1 set of measuring spoons
1 long-handled metal spoon
Hot pads or gloves, and cotton towels
Tongs, knife, scissors, and cup
1-quart pan, for sterilizing lids
Timer or clock
7 half-pint jars and matching lids (use new lids only)
4 cups crushed berries
6-1/2 to 7 level cups granulated sugar (for example, use 7 for strawberries, 6-1/2 for raspberries or currants)
1/2 teaspoon margarine
One 3-ounce pouch liquid pectin (available in grocery stores)
To sterilize the jars, wash and rinse them in the dishwasher without detergent and keep warm under clean cloth towels. Put lids in a small pan, cover with water, and boil for 10 minutes. Turn off heat but keep the lids warm.
Rinse berries lightly. Drain. Cut away damaged portions of fruit and the green caps if using strawberries. Place a small amount of berries at a time in a food processor and pulse briefly, making sure to crush but not puree all of the berries.
Measure 4 cups of crushed berries. Place berries and sugar in a large kettle and mix thoroughly.
Bring berry mixture to a full, rolling boil over high heat. Add the margarine, and continue to stir as it melts. Pour in the pectin all at once, stirring vigorously. When mixture reaches a full, rolling boil again, stir for 1 minute.
Remove the kettle from the heat. Set in the sink and, using a metal spoon, skim off any foam. Transfer back to the cooled stove or counter.
With a 1-cup measuring cup or ladle, fill jars with jam up to 1/8 inch from the rim. With a clean damp cloth, wipe the rims. Quickly place lids on top and screw on tightly.
To sterilize jam in a hot-water bath, put a rack in a heavy-bottomed pot and fill pot with water deep enough to cover the jars on the rack by one inch. Bring water to a full boil, immerse jars in pot with tongs, lower the heat to a gentle boil. Boil for 10 minutes.
Lift jars out with tongs and set them on a dry towel to cool for 8 to 15 hours. Store in a cool, dark place for up to a year. Keep in the refrigerator once opened. Makes 7 half pints of jam if using raspberries or black currants and 7-1/2 pints if using strawberries.