Thursday, July 10, 2008

Aaahhhh, Summer.

Can I just say that I love summer? Yeah, the warm weather is nice, but what I really like is all the sweet, juicy fruit that's in season and the abundance of tasty vegetables. I'm still waiting for most of my own veggies to start producing, but our apricot tree in the back is ripening so fast I can't keep up! I went to Tahoe over the weekend with my family and decided to try something new. I assembled two apricot pies and froze them before I left for the weekend. Then when I was up there, I popped the frozen pies in the oven, and viola! Warm homemade pies! I'd never frozen a pie before, so I was a bit nervous, but it actually worked pretty well.

When I got home, the tree was still loaded, so I decided to make jam. I used a recipe from a cute little cookbook by Alice Waters called Fanny At Chez Panisse. It's written from the perspective of Fanny, Alice's daughter, about growing up in her moms restaurant. All the recipes are pretty simple (not vegan though), and there's cute artwork and stories. Growing up, I made apricot or blackberry jam numerous times with my mom and we always used pectin. This recipe, however, didn't call for any, so I was kinda curious to see how it would turn out.

My new $5.00 thrift store pot!

Well...I think I would call it Apricot Preserves or Yummy Apricot Ice Cream Topping instead of Apricot Jam. It tastes great, and I actually like the runny consistency, but it's definitely not PB&J suitable. It would, however, be perfect with warm scones or some toasty French bread. I'm thinking about giving some to my neighbor, whichever one it is, who keeps calling the cops every time we have people over. Maybe I'll win them over with the sweetness of homemade jam and they'll leave us alone!

Not sure what this does, but my Mom does it, so I will too!

By the way, this batch of jam (which I'm not posting a recipe for cause there's a million online already) was probably the most time consuming one I've ever made. Yeah, I had to cook it longer to make up for the lack of pectin, but the real problem came when most of the jars didn't seal right. I made it last night, but by this morning, about half of the lids still hadn't popped down. I used the 'turn the jar upside down' method of sealing the first time, but tonight I had to take all the lids off, replace them with new ones, and reprocess every jar in boiling water. I also decided to make a couple jars of strawberry jam while I was at it, so that took a bit longer. As I write though, I can actually hear the "pop" of the lids sealing, one-by-one, so I think it's safe this time! Man, my feet are tired, but I think it's all going to be worth it.


Chris said...

Dad is determined to make his own pie when he returns from scout camp. Jam is on my to do list as well. The upside down method always works for me, sorry about your percentage. Any jar rim rough places? or jam on the rims?

Ashley C. said...

I couldn't remember how long you left the jars upside down, so I think I didn't do it long enough. I cleaned all the rims before I put the lids on, but the next day when I took them all off to redo them I could tell the jam had seeped out. Maybe I didn't tighten the rings enough. The boiling method worked really well though. All but 1 jar sealed perfectly! I had to use my huge tamale pot to boil them in though, cause nothing else was large enough!