1)Have the experience of those who've gone before you.
My mother made jam with fierce countenance and concentration. I have her example that it can be done but with less fire.
2)Start a step only when you are ready but don't put it off forever. Coffee up and turn the phone off.
Careful planning includes fresh berries and a fire extinguisher. A very clean kitchen enhances my feeling of competency (fancy word for control).
3)Focus, focus. Half measures avail us nothing.
You're handling molten lava of sticky strawberries-pay attention!
4)Prepare well and know that you will make mistakes, otherwise labeled as experience.
This time I added sugar before the pectin, an illustration of my best thinking instead of reading the directions. Holy Hubris, anyone for strawberry syrup?
5)Know there will be painful parts.
Again, molten lava. Also canning jars plucked from boiling water, how tough are your fingers?
6)A solitary process but good to be able to phone a friend somewhere along the way.
No one else is allowed in the kitchen but good to have someone in the house to give information to the rescue squad OR to run around putting windows down when you hear thunder. You cannot leave the molten lava alone.
7)Try not to cuss.
8)Don't sweat it, the world wants good things for you. There are 'best practices' but there is no single best way to walk the steps. Besides you'll probably do it again some day.
Jam was not invented by rocket scientists or even people that could read. Batches of jam that don't gel still taste wonderful as sauce or spooned directly into mouth while standing in trashed kitchen. Not to be confused with standing trashed in kitchen.
9) Share the results with someone you trust. Which, by definition, is probably not a relative.
Share only with people whose faces light up at the gift. It is wasted on those who fear botulism. Pray for them.
10)Carry your new knowledge with you and re-visit the process often.
Raspberries will be coming within a month, get ready now!
Thanks for letting me channel my internal Dave Barry!
Yours in program,
4 hours ago