I love summer time. Warm days, soft breezes and warm, ripe organic fruit strait off the tree. My Uncle has a couple apricot trees from California that produce the tastiest little treats right at the end of May to welcome in the beginning of summer.
This little girl did more eating of the fruit than putting it in the bags. We probably have one less pint of jam from her love of apricots.
My dad offered to help make jam so I jumped on that offer! Making jam is a lot of work, but worth it. Spreading joyously bright orang apricot jam on warm bread in the middle of winter warms my heart and my tummy.
You can see the cleaning and cutting process set up and this is only about 1/4 of total apricots we had to go thru. I like to keep a tidy assemblyline-esque process going.
I like the hot jam canning method. I still use my Aunt Carolina’s literature, equipment and expertise (in the form of scattered handwritten-notes) to compile jams. For this batch there were about 15 cups of fruit. I’m not a big fan of white sugar so we started with organic honey my Dad gets from one of his fraternity brothers from UC Davis. 4 cups of Joe Traynor honey go in along with some lemon rind from my neighbor’s lemon tree. I like tart with apricot, brings out a whole new layer.
At this point we are all in! There’s not a moment to lose! The fruit has to get up to a rapid boil but not turn brown in the cooking process, cause who wants to eat brown jam? Watching the pot and stirring continuously is tedious, but essential if you want the jam to look pretty.
I think we added 2 more cups of sugar and its just sweet enough. I like it to be more tart, hence the lemon. I put Birdie on dish duty and she handled it like a boss.
Glass jars my Dad’s mother used from at least 100 years ago are placed in the pot for sterilization and the *new* lids as well.
Because he gets first dibs on being the sampler… Yes, that is a glass of wine in his hand and yes he’s a dad that helps his little girl make jam. Can’t get any better than that, can it?
(Get it? “CAN” it! Ahh, ha ha ha. Mom joke)
Anyway, he does a good job and he loves the free tastes, so why not? It reminds me of being a kid and getting samples from my Aunt Carolina.
After the jam has been brought up to a rapid boil but before the color turns, its time to kill the heat and transfer the jam into sterilized jars. (My mom has a couple helpful tools for this: a big pot for sterilizing the jars and lids, a jar funnel and special tongs for the jars.)
After the transfer of every last drop into a jar, we put the new lids on and a ring to seal. I like to leave them on a towel for several hours till they cool. A sign of a job well done. Doesn’t that look pretty?