If you’re serious about getting into canning and preserving this year, the time is ripe.  Sure, the peach and apricot crops are disappointing, but the strawberries and raspberries are rock stars right now.

   If you need a little guidance, pick up a copy of  “Put ‘em Up!” (Storey Publishing) by Sherri Brooks Vinton. The cookbook offers terrific, step-by-step sketches to illustrate all kinds of preserving techniques, from freezing to the more complicated,  boiling-water method. It’s almost as good as working at grandma’s elbow.

   While the blackberries are still ripening on the vine, there are plenty of raspberries  still available from the spring crop. Here’s a handy little recipe from the book for when you’re long on berries and short on time. Pomona’s Universal Pectin can be hard to track down, so when you spot it, pick up a couple of packages.

Quick Raspberry Jam

Makes about 4 cups

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon Pomona’s  Universal Pectin

8 cups raspberries

1 teaspoon calcium water (included in the Pomona box)

Combine the sugar and pectin in a small bowl and set aside. Run 4 cups of the berries through a food mill to remove seeds, if desired. Pour the pulp, the remaining whole berries, and a splash of water into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over low heat. Stir in the calcium water. Pour in the sugar-pectin mixture and stir to dissolve.

Return to a boil, and then immediately remove from the heat and let the jam rest for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to release air bubbles. Skim off any foam.

To preserve:

Refrigerate: Ladle into bowls or jars. Cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

Can: Use the boiling-water method. Pour into clean, hot 4-ounce or half-pint caning jars, leaving ¼ inch of headspace. Release trapped air. Wipe the rims clean; center lids on the jars and screw on jar bands. Process for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, remove canner lid, and let jars rest in the water for 5 minutes. Remove jars and set aside for 24 hours. Check seals, then store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.