Preserving the times

Jam in a jiffy

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Growing up with a big garden and no freezer, I was stuck with canning. It was a summer ritual that my mother adored and I dreaded. She did the stewing and brewing, the humming and admiring; I did the hulling and peeling, the cleaning and complaining - the volume got me down. For years afterward I avoided canning.

However, with the advent of the microwave oven, I took another look at preserving. Zapped in small quantities in the microwave, jams have merit. Berries or pieces of other fruit, submitted in slow stages to the jostle-free heat, retain their shape and fresh flavor better than when boiled. In a sense, I've returned to the process but not the processing.

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