Strawberry Jam :
1. Pick over the berries and discard any that are rotten. Blackberries and raspberries are very fragile, so unless they are very dirty or you know they have been sprayed with pesticides, it’s best not to wash them.
2. Combine the berries, sugar, and apples in a medium saucepan. If you are using strawberries, you may want to slice them first. Cook the jam over medium heat until the mixture begins to bubble. Turn the heat down to medium-low and let it simmer. The jam will need to cook for a long time, about an hour. To test if they are cooked enough, place a small spoonful of jam on a clean plate and let it cool. When the cooled mixture holds together and can be spread, it is ready to can.
3. While the jam is cooking, wash the jars and lids in warm, soapy water. Place the jars in the large cooking pot and fill it with water to the top. Place the lids and rings in the small saucepan and cover with water. Boil both the jars and lids for ten minutes. It is important to sterilize the jars in boiling water so that bacteria don’t grow in the jars, ruining all your hard work. After you have boiled the jars and lids for ten minutes, turn the heat off and leave the jars in the hot water.
4. When the jam has thickened and the jars are sterilized, you are ready to pack the jam. Carefully use the tongs to remove one jar from the hot water. Fill the jar with hot jam, leaving ½ inch of space at the top. Wipe off the edge of the jar with a damp cloth and place a lid on top. Tighten a ring around the jar. Repeat with the other three jars.
5. Place the filled jars in the large cooking pot and cover them with water. Turn the heat on high and boil the jars again for ten minutes. This is very important!
6. Using the tongs, carefully remove the jars from the hot water and let them cool. Label your jars with the kind of jam you’ve made and the date. Homemade jam makes great gifts. If you don’t eat it all right away, your unopened jam will keep for several years.