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Summertime Jam:

Everyone knows that summertime is a lazy, warm, happy time to hang out with our little ones; but it’s also the best time to eat all the fruit that is hanging around! Everything is ripe, fresh, squishy and ready to pick. So make a plan with your little one to go to your local grove or farmers market, pick some berries and make your own preserves, smoothies or frozen treats!Preserves are easier to make than you think. Here’s how:1. Let your child pick out a bag full of berries, any combination will work: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.2. Let your child mash them in a pot with a potato masher or with their hands until each one has been squished, squirted and mixed.3. Slowly cook them over a low heat stirring frequently, until they boil. Add water if you need to keep them from sticking. Then turn the flame to low.4. Next, stir in your favorite sweetener a little bit at a time. Taste testing will determine how much sweetener is needed. Your child will be the best judge!5. Keep stirring until the jam has thickened, then turn off the flame. Let it cool and thicken.6. Find a jar to spoon the jam into, and refrigerate.7. Decoration of the jar is also very important! A smeared berry on a label to let you know the brand could be fun as well as tasty. You’ll be surprised how many jars of jam you’ll have…and sticky fingers!10. Don’t forget to make a couple of finger sandwiches using cookie cutters, your favorite homemade jam, plus cream cheese, peanut butter (or nothing at all) and have a summer tea-party.11. Afterwards, with berry-stained fingers, you can read “Jamberry” by Bruce Degen.

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