What an unlikely, cheering sight. Lunchtime, West Village, Blue Hill Restaurant. Snappily clad in their springtime best, representatives from the food departments of most of our nation’s finest lifestyle magazines sat rapt for a demonstration on making…strawberry jam. Canning’s back! Heralding the return of the art of preserving, the makers of Ball canning products hosted a lunch today to announce the release of their cookbook as well as their new plastic freezer jars and no-cook freezer pectin. Amazing stuff: Combine 1 packet of the new pectin, 1 1/2 cups of sugar (or Splenda) and 4 cups of chopped fresh fruit; three minutes later, you have jam. [if the fruit is chopped, not pureed, wouldn’t it be preserves, not jam?] No funny stuff; just pectin, rejiggered. It’s perfect for preserving with little ones, and for putting up summer’s bounty when it’s, well, summery outside, and far too hot to jam over a hot stove. For those of us (like me) who also love to preserve the traditional way, check out our upcoming July issue; Linton Hopkins of Atlanta’s Restaurant Eugene has given us some of his favorite recipes, including his own strawberry preserves. You can also check out some past favorites: Eugenia Bone’s Apricot Honey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson’s Red Pepper Jelly.