I am sure that many of you have read about my adventures with fruit in the past few weeks. I speak especially about Apricots and Strawberries. I cannot say enough about the jeweled fruit we call the apricot. Since I can remember I have loved this little dear. Growing up in northern Oklahoma we were not blessed with a bountiful crop each year. It seemed that a late freeze would always take the delicate blooms, thus taking also the fruit. I remember a tree in the small town where I grew up. I watched this little tree each day as spring would roll around. I waited for the blooms to appear then pray that no cold weather would come. On the years that we were blessed, I would always change my path of walking to school so that I could go past and keep an eye on their progress.
Although I was not fortunate to find fresh grown apricots at any of the farmer’s markets that I frequent, I was lucky enough to find a bountiful of them. Katie, Vincent’s mom, was a dear and let me have as many as I wanted from her tree which was covered this year. They were not huge in size, yet they possessed a wonderful taste. My only cost was a sample of whatever I ended up doing with them. I think I did everything you can do with an apricot from make jam, to tarts, to drying them and more.
I did not learn to make jam from my mother or my grandmother. Although both were big canners, I cannot remember them ever putting away jam, except for my grandma’s apple butter. Gini, my first husband’s mother, was the one who introduced me to the making of jam. Having three small children, 2 of which were growing boys, peanut butter and jellies were a mainstay at our home. Once I started making jam, there was no going back to any jelly bought in at the grocery store. Although I will admit that nothing is as good as Welch’s grape jam.
I remember once when our children had a babysitter for the day and I instructed her to just give the kids PB & J’s for lunch. When I returned home she was upset to tell me that she made only peanut butter sandwiches as she could not find the jelly. When I showed her the jar of peach jam (my boy’s favorite) in the ice box, she was confused. She knew only of grape jelly. When she left that day I sent with her a few jars of my jam to give to her mom. Needless to say it was a gift that I continued every summer for many years.
The peaches have started to ripen and I have been keeping my eye out. Most of them so far, had been somewhat small and overpriced. Yet last Saturday on our trip to the Farmer’s Market I found some that were simply beautiful. They were about the size of a baseball and had wonderful color. (see picture above) I purchased a small basket just for eating. Upon suggestion of the producer, I will purchase the peaches I plan to put up about mid July. They are sweeter at this time. Also if they are cling free they fall from the pit easier. It will also give me and the grandkids something to do while they are visiting. I am sure they will love making my mini tarts.
I have posted my jam recipe on my favorite recipe page if you would like to take a look see. Until next week, enjoy yourself and eat something fresh…. Not only is it good for you but it taste so good.