One of the easiest things to preserve in the summer is fruit. All you really need is your fruit of choice and sugar. I never put pectin in my jam to make it thicker. I really feel it is a waste of money for jam. We like a runny jam, very spreadable, that's good on biscuits, pancakes or just about anything!
Pour all the berries in the pot, place over high heat and start the cooking process. At the same time, I get the water bath canner going. You want the water really hot in the canner. Place it on high heat and put the lid on. Hopefully, it will get to boiling about the same time you will place your jars in it.
You can add a little water to the berries, to keep them from sticking if needed. As soon as they start getting soupy, I start adding sugar. I add 2 cups to start.
Then, I start tasting. I keep adding sugar, one cup at a time, until it is as sweet as I like. With this batch, I added about 5 cups of sugar. I used about one gallon of berries.
Your mixture should be boiling and you should be stirring. :)
You will start noticing foam forming along the top. Try to skim most of that off. A ladle works well for this. I don't worry too much if I don't get every bit off.
Let it cook until it starts getting thicker. This may take anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes. Just remember that the finished product will be thicker, so you will have to judge for yourselves when it looks good to you.
When it finally gets exactly like you want it, it's time to fill the jars!
Fill each jar, leaving about 1 inch headspace.
Make sure you wipe the top of each jar with a clean, damp cloth. If you don't, it could prevent the lid from sealing.
Place a hot lid on top and secure with band. I keep my lids hot in a small pan of water on the back of the stove. If you haven't got a lid grabber like the one shown, GET YOU ONE! SOON! No more burning fingers. :) I do believe it is one of the most greatest of inventions.
Using your jar grabber, place in your canner very carefully. In the picture you may notice a towel. I placed it on the bottom to keep my jars from sitting right on the bottom. It works great. I do have an insert, but I thought I might have more jars than what would fit in it.
After all the jars are in the canner, bring back to boiling and boil 10 minutes. Use your jar grabber to remove the jars after the required time. They are hot so don't burn yourself. Place on a towel out of the way so they won't be disturbed for 24 hours.
The end product. Something wonderful made with a little time and effort! Canning and preserving is hard work, but is one of the most satisfying things a wife can do for her family. Especially when winter is upon us. There's nothing quite like opening a jar of "summer" in the freezing cold!