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Preserving tastes of summer

Certo offers quick way to make jams, jellies

Armed with Certo instructions to make jam and jelly, my head began to spin. I started to feel tired, and then I let out a big sigh. Next, I turned over the paper.

There it was – quick and easy freezer jam and jelly directions. I didn’t need to see anything else.

My family has been enjoying homemade strawberry jam for years. Our tradition is to gather local strawberries and then tackle the jam. While the idea of canning causes me to panic, this quick and easy jam is a no-sweat process.

Waist-watchers can use the jam by keeping an eye on their servings: 50 calories per tablespoon.

To get started, wash and rinse 1- to 2-cup size plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.

1. Prepare strawberries by discarding the stems and crushing them. Crush 1 cup at a time using a potato masher for best results. If using a food processor, pulse to very finely chop. Do not puree. Jam should have bits of fruit.

2. Measure the exact amount of prepared fruit into a large bowl.

3. Measure the exact amount of sugar into a separate bowl. Reducing sugar or using sugar substitutes will result in set failures. Try Sure-Jell for less or no sugar needed recipes; fruit pectin for no- or low-sugar jams and jellies.

4. Stir sugar into prepared fruit. Mix well. Let stand 10 minutes; stir occasionally.

5. Stir pectin into lemon juice in a small bowl.

6. Stir pectin mixture into prepared fruit. Stir constantly until sugar is completely dissolved and no longer grainy, about 3 minutes. A few sugar crystals may remain.

7. Pour into prepared containers, leaving 1/2 inch space at top for expansion during freezing; cover.

8. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours until set. Refrigerate up to 3 weeks. Otherwise, store in freezer for up to a year. Thaw in refrigerator.

The strawberries can be replaced with other fruits. The Certo freezer recipes also cover apricot, blueberry, cherry, peach, mango, red raspberry or blackberry, raspberry-peach, and strawberry-blueberry jams; and grape, grapefruit and hot pepper jellies.

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