Making jam might sound complicated at first read, but give it a try – it’s actually quite simple. Believe it or not, this recipe takes only a half hour to complete . . . not counting berry picking and jam cooling time. And this recipe is adaptable to just about any fruit. Try making “wild berry” jam by mixing blueberries blackberries and strawberries!

4 Tbsp cold water
4 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp arrow root
1 packet (0.25 ounces) unflavored gelatin
1 2/3 cup sugar
4 cups fresh blackberries

4 glass jam jars
tea kettle or sauce pan 1/2 full of water
baking dish
kitchen towel
canning funnel (optional)
medium sized cooking pot

Lay out all your materials. Set your tea kettle with water on the range, but don’t heat it yet. Place your jars with lids removed inside the baking dish and lay the lids in the dish also. Set your funnel and ladle in the baking dish also. Lay out your towel nearby. You are now ready to make jam!

Combine water, lemon juice, arrow root, and gelatin in a cooking pot. (Do not heat yet! Gelatin dissolves better when cold!) Stir until powders are completely dissolved. Turn heat on stove top to medium-high. Place pot on burner. At the same time turn on the burner under your tea kettle to high to start that water boiling. Heat your gelatin mixture a little and then add fruit and sugar. Stir to combine all ingredients well. Heat, stirring until mixture is bubbly and frothy (Heather’s words). As soon as it boils your jam is ready to be loaded into the jars.

Pour boiling water over the rims and into your jars, lids, and ladle and funnel. Using a hot pad pour the hot water back out from one of the jars. Place your funnel in the jar and ladle in enough jam to fill the jar to 1 to 1/2 inch from the top. Remember, the jam will expand a in the freezer, so you don’t want to fill it all the way to the top. Continue this process until all the jars have been filled. Wipe off the rims of your jars if needed and tighten the lids. Place your jars on the towel to cool a little. When the jars cool down you can refrigerate them or place them in the freezer. Jam will keep a long time in the freezer, but the food safety gurus would probably tell you to consume within one year. You can also keep some in the fridge to eat right away – maybe that bowl of extra jam. Goes great on toast, english muffins, or mixed with yogurt or ice cream!