It seems that I have been making jams and jellies since I was “knee high to a grasshopper.” Now there’s an old fashioned country saying that just popped out of my head from who knows where. But maybe there is a reason for it. Every time I am canning or making jam or jelly my heart and mind soar back 50 plus years to our kitchen on Berry Road and I am face to face with my Grandma Burchett and my Mom. And I am 8 years young, not 62 years old. It’s mid August and the sun is high. The kitchen is so steaming hot. Mom is at the stove scalding peaches. Gram is sitting at the table slipping the skins off the peaches and pitting them. I’m the “gofer” bringing more peaches, getting more jars, emptying the scraps, washing dishes as these two women work in synchronous motion as if they have been canning peaches all their lives. Oh wait….they have been canning peaches together all their lives! Grandma started Mom when she was “knee high to a grasshopper” and now they are teaching me. Not so much with words but with actions. As is so typical with a child, I take it all in visually so much more than what I hear. It’s the sight of the half pint and quart size glass canning jars. The bushels of peaches. The sacks of sugar. The ever growing mounds of peach skins and pits. The aroma of sweet peaches being made into jam and peach halves being canned in syrup to sustain us all through the long cold New York State winter. It’s the easy camaraderie of my Mom with her Mom. Mom skimming the foam off the jam as it cooks and giving me a treat by spreading it on warm homemade bread. No culinary delight is better than that! But it is sooooo hot in that kitchen. I’m 8 years old. Sometimes I just can’t stand the tiresome all day work and the heat and the smells, so why then why, do I continue to this day making homemade jam and jelly in the August heat when I could easily go to the grocery store and buy a jar? Well, of course homemade is so delicious. Store bought can never compete. But it is more than that. This tradition takes me back to two women that I loved beyond measure. To my childhood with a three generation family living together and teaching each other. Where Mother, Daughter and Grand Daughter shared love, tradition and hope. So with that, I hope Gram and Mom some how know the gift they gave to me. The gift of family and love and caring for each other. And I hope they know how much I love making jam and jelly because of them.
18 jars of Apricot Jam today!
There is an old Apricot tree in our Orchard that has never given us one single piece of fruit in the 5 years since we have lived here. All that changed this year for reasons we really don’t understand. This year we had at least a Bushel of Apricots.
And today, I’m going to show you how I turned sweet, juicy Apricots into sweet, fruity jam.
Jamming it up!
- Wash the jelly jars and keep them hot. Some people keep them in the dishwasher until ready to use. I put mine right in the canning pot filled with hot water and drain them just before filling. Take the new lids and place them in a small pan with 1/2 inch of water. Turn the heat on and get the lids nice and hot and keep them hot.
- Slice the Apricots in half and pop out the pits. Do not peel the Apricots.
- Dice up the Apricots. Aren't they beautiful? I wish I has smellovision because the aroma was outrageous!
- Measure 5 Cups of chopped Apricots into the 10 Cup Kettle and stir in the Lemon Juice.
- Stir in the Liquid Fruit Pectin and turn on the heat. Bring the kettle full of fruit to a full rolling boil while stirring constantly. This can take about 5 minutes or so depending on your stove.
- Add the Sugar 1 cup at a time and keep stirring.Stir well to make sure the sugar dissolves and doesn't clump. I pre measure the sugar into a bowl so I don't lose count of how many cups I put in. That's just a me thing. Do whatever you are comfortable with. Again, bring this mixture to a full rolling boil while constantly stirring. Boil for 1 minute and turn off the heat! Skim off any foam from the top with a metal spoon. Don't throw it out! It's delicious if not so pretty.
- Immediately ladle the hot fruit mixture into the clean hot jars. Wipe the rims with a damp paper towel to remove excess jam or the lids will not seal. Drain the hot lids and set a clean hot lid on each jar. Apply the screw rings and tighten. Place the jars in the canning rack and slowly and carefully lower the rack into the hot water. Bring the water in the canner to a slow boil and boil away for 10 minutes. In my case, I cook them and extra 5 minutes due to the elevation where I live. When the 10 minutes are up. Lift up the rack holding the jars out of the water and let them drain a minute. Then, using a jar lifter or a hot pad remove each jar and set it on the towel on the kitchen counter or table. Keep the jars away from cool breezes and let them rest for 24 hours.
- Now...listen for the sound all home canners love to hear. That delightful little "pop" indicating the lids have sealed. Wonderful sound! That's it! You now have Apricot Jam and your family will love you for it.
- Mine did! Sparky agreed to try a slice of toast with fresh jam. Then he decided to try another and on it went!
- Thanks so much for stopping by today! I do so enjoy sharing my life and recipes from up here in the back of the beyond with you. Wherever your journey takes you today, I wish for you a bountiful table and family and friends to share it with. Hugs and much love from me, Karen, TJG
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