The first was last night with my friend Alex, who narrowly escaped arrest on the way to my house. I am not exaggerating. Aparrently she and her husband made the minor oversight of neglecting to renew the registration on their car...for three months...which, in the Commonwealth, generally comes with an automatic trip to the pokey and an impounded car. Seeing as how she has an impeccable record and her big night out was to make jam; a fact which the officer duly noted, she was let go with the understanding that he would be alerting every officer in our town that if she were seen driving again prior to renewal...To the Moom, Alice!
So following a detour back home to get her husband's car, she arrived in one piece and we got smashed. Or the berries did anyhow. So crisis, and several hundred dollars in fines, averted, we commenced.
Here's all you need to make some really good berries into even better jam:
A large saucepan, two bowls/platters; one to measure your sugar into and one to smash the berries in, potato masher or blender (on CHOP not puree...I far prefer the potato masher), Jelly Jars with lids and rings, Wide mouth funnel, jar lifter, large pot with rack to keep jars from the bottom (I got mine from a hardware store...it's a boiling water bath canner), wooden spoons or spatulas, berries, SureJell (I used low-sugar for two batches and regular for one; the bowl o' sugar is the full-force one...and it also uses less fruit, sadly) tiny amount of butter or margerine (to help reduce foam) and a s*&$load of sugar. For the full sugar version, I actually had to switch over to my big soup pot or it would have boiled over.
If it's handy, you can also use your child's muscles to smash the berries...I employed this method on the second batch this morning.
Lined up like Pretty Maids All In a Row