No-cook jams keep fresh berry taste

If your family consumes a lot of jam with its breakfast breads, you might like to experiment with some of the no-cook jams that will keep three weeks in the refrigerator and up to a year in the freezer.

I had been told that the fruit in these no-cook jams tasted fresher and kept its color better than the cooked variety.

To satisfy my curiosity, I went to a public market for big, luscious strawberries and returned home to make several quarts of jam. The berries retained the tang of fresh ones, and the color was a brilliant red.

Its texture seems lighter than that of store-bought jams, but this quality makes no-cook jams ideal as a filling for sponge cake or as a topping for ice cream.

Other advantages are the little time and effort required to make a batch of this jam, and several jars of it will cost no more than the purchase of one with a fancy label.

One word of warning: Whatever brand of fruit pectin you buy to make these jams and jellies, be sure to follow the manufacturer's directions exactly. %&No-Cook Freezer Strawberry Jam 1 quart strawberries, at room temperature 4 cups sugar 3/4 cup water 11 3/4-ounce box fruit pectin

Prepare jelly glasses and lids by washing, scalding, and draining, or use automatic dishwasher with very hot rinse water. Remove caps from strawberries. Crush fruit in, one layer at a time, using potato masher or slotted spoon. You should have 2 cups of crushed berries.

Place in a large bowl and thoroughly stir sugar into the fruit. Let stand 10 minutes. In a saucepan place water and Sure-Jell and bring to a full boil. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir into fruit and continue stirring 3 minutes. Ladle into jars, leaving 1/2-inch space at top.

With a damp cloth, wipe any spills from containers. Cover at once with lids. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Keep a jar or two, if desired, in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Store the rest in freezer. Makes 4 3/4 cups jam. No-Cook Freezer Blueberry Jam 2 cups prepared blueberries, at room temperature 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or nutmeg (optional) 4 cups sugar 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 3-ounce pouch liquid fruit pectin, or 1/2 bottle

Prepare containers as indicated in previous recipe. Pick over blueberries, removing any stems. Crush fruit. If desired, add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or nutmeg. Put fruit in large bowl. Measure sugar and thoroughly stir into fruit. Let stand 10 minutes.

Measure lemon juice into small bowl. Add fruit pectin and stir well. Stir into fruit and continue stirring 3 minutes. Immediately ladle into containers, leaving 1/2-inch space at top.

With a damp cloth, wipe any spills from containers. Cover at once with lids. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Makes 4 1/2 cups jam.

Note: Blackberries may be substituted in this recipe for blueberries. Omit nutmeg and cinnamon. If desired, sieve half the blackberry pulp to remove some of the seeds. Recipe makes 41/4 cups blackberry jam.

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