Always select fruit that is ripe. Use only the firmest, ripest fruit. The better the fruit quality, the better the jam.

By using the best fruit, you will help ensure a proper set and texture. This will give you the best possible flavour.

Don’t use overripe or under-ripe fruit for jam as it will affect the taste and set.

Delicious jams can be made all year round. You can make them with fresh, canned, or dried fruits. You can even use frozen fruit that you picked during the summer months or bought frozen at the supermarket.

Paraffin seals are no longer recommended for jams as mould growth could occur and will spoil your jam. Instead, for cooked jam, seal jars while they are hot using sterilized two-piece lids with new centres. You can buy these from most retailers.

Always use the amount of sugar called for in the recipe, never reduce the amount. Sugar helps the jam to set and acts as a preservative. Reducing the amount of sugar will upset the balance of fruit, sugar and pectin needed to produce a well-set jam. If you want less sugar, use light products and recipes for jams and jellies.

There are two types of jam: cooked jam - one which must be boiled and stored in glass jars with sterilized two-piece lids - and no-cook jams which does not require any cooking. No-cook jams should be stored in clean, sealed jars or plastic containers in the freezer.

Many recipes have a preparation time of only 15 minutes. It is so quick and easy, you can easily fit it into a busy schedule.

** From Certo

All you need is 4 cups of prepared fruit, 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar and a package of Garden Fare Freezer Jam gelling powder. Follow package directions.

Try one of these tested fruit combinations or create your own.

Blueberry-Peach: 3 cups peaches, 1 cup blueberries

Raspberry-Pear: 2 cups raspberries, 2 cups pears

Kiwi Berry: 2 cups raspberries (or strawberries), 2 cups kiwi

Peaches’n Almond: 4 cups peaches, 1 tsp almond extract

Peach Melba: 2 cups raspberries, 2 cups peaches

Blueberry-Cherry: 2 cups sweet cherries, 2 cups blueberries, 1 tsp almond extract

Strawberry-Orange Twist: 4 cups strawberries, 1 tsp orange rind or extract

Pineapple-Cherry: 3 cups sweet cherries, 1 cup pineapple (fresh or drained canned fruit)

Pineapple-Peach: 3 cups peaches, 1 cup pineapple (fresh or drained canned fruit)

Strawberry-Raspberry: 3 cups strawberries, 1 cup raspberries

Tropical Conserve: 1 cup pineapple (fresh or drained canned fruit), 1 cup papaya, 1 cup kiwi, 1/2 cup oranges, 1/2 cup maraschino cherries

**From a Garden Fare pamphlet.

I’m still having trouble differentiating jams, jellies and preserves.