This afternoon I happened to have time to both go to the bathroom AND look at myself in the mirror while washing my hands (fellow moms know what I mean) and noticed that my shirt was on inside-out. *sigh* I wonder if the people at the grocery store and bank noticed?
Last night I made apricot jam. The kids and I picked a huge bag full a few days ago, and those things do NOT keep for long. By the time I started cutting them up about half had gone moldy. But I had more than enough for the 5 cups I needed. My dad has 2 apricot trees on this property and they are very sporadic producers (I think that is because he is a very sporadic pruner, but I could be wrong). We've had no fruit at all for the last two summers, but this year the trees made tons of gigantic delicious apricots - enough for the blue jays, wasps, AND all of us.
I used a packet of Sure-Gel that I had left-over from last year's jam making, but if you are going to make jam and you can find it, I highly recommend using Pamona's Pectin. It doesn't rely on sugar to make the jam set up, so you use about a third of the normal amount of sugar. This batch I made required 7 cups of sugar. SEVEN CUPS!!! And if you use less the jam won't set - you'll be left with jars of drooly sticky fruit sludge, which will be very disappointing. If I'd had some Pamona's on hand I think it would have asked for 3 cups.
This morning I woke up to 10 jars of jam on the kitchen table in the morning sunlight. They are the most beautiful color! I think this is my favorite color of jam... probably plum is my favorite flavor. The boys weren't quite as enamored with the color of our jam as me ... they were too busy discussing the rules of "whip tag," ie. does it count if you whip someone in the head as long as you do it softly, etc.
Making jam is so satisfying - keeping that home-grown fruit from going to waste by turning it into something that will last a whole year. I still have a bit of jam left from last year, so we're going to have to hurry up and eat a lot of toast or something. Or maybe give it away, or trade it for tomatoes since the dog keeps burying dead squirrels under my tomato plants. The non-jammed apricots are in the food dehydrator. I've never made dried apricots before, but one of the farmers nearby lays hundreds of them outside in the sun on screens every summer, so I figure it is a pretty fool-proof process (famous last words, I know). I'll keep you posted on how those turn out.