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Preserving Summer’s Fruits

I can’t think of a better seasonal treat than enjoying the fresh fruits of summer in preserves, jellies, and marmalades. Visiting my favorite u-pick-it farm is a ritual so that I can enjoy summer’s bounty all year long. While strawberries and blackberries are my favorites, I get excited over all the fruits of summer.

BLACKBERRY JAM

9 cups (about 4 lbs.) crushed blackberries

6 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine blackberries and sugar in a large Dutch oven; slowly bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Add lemon juice. Boil 30 to 40 minutes, stirring frequently, until jam reaches desired consistency. Skim off foam with a metal spoon. Quickly ladle jam into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace; cover at once with metal lids, and screw bands tight. Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Makes 3 pints.

PEACH ORANGE MARMALADE

5 cups finely chopped peaches

2 medium oranges, finely chopped

Peel of one orange, finely grated

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

6 cups sugar

Wash, peel, and remove pits from peaches. Finely chop or grind peaches. Remove peel, white portions, and seeds from oranges. Finely chop or grind pulp. Measure prepared fruit into large pot. Add remaining ingredients, stir well, and bring to a boil. Boil rapidly, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and skim surface. Fill and seal jars. Process for 5 minutes in boiling water bath. Makes 7-1/2 pints.

THE BEST STRAWBERRY PRESERVES

1-1/2 quarts strawberries

5 cups sugar

1/3 cup lemon juice

Wash and hull strawberries. Combine strawberries and sugar in a large Dutch oven. Mix well and let stand 3 to 4 hours. Slowly bring strawberry mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Stir in lemon juice and boil about 12 minutes or until berries are clear, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and skim from the top of mixture with a metal spoon. Carefully remove fruit from syrup with a slotted spoon, and place in a shallow pan. Bring syrup to a boil and cook about 10 minutes or until syrup has thickened to desired consistency. Pour syrup over fruit. Let stand 12 to 24 hours in a cool place. Shake pan occasionally but do not stir. Skim off foam with a metal spoon. Ladle preserves into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace, and cover at once with metal lids. Screw bands tightly. Process in boiling water bath for 20 minutes. Makes 4 pints.

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