Two days into the new year and I've already crossed off one thing on my "want to do" list. Actually I crossed it off before the new year so I guess I technically fit it in in 2009 but anyway...
I made jam! Real, honest to goodness, poured into hot jars and sealed, JAM!
Glen's parent's have an apricot tree in their driveway that I've been eying. They don't really do much with the apricots besides eat them straight from the tree (Glen's mum doesn't like to cook so adventurous things like jam are out of the question). I've been wanting to learn to can & make jam for a while now and was going to start in Inuvik. Needless to say the first 9-10 months of 2009 were insane and that never happened. When I left Inuvik I stayed with my mum's best friend and helped her make pickles. I mentioned to her how I wanted to learn to do that sort of thing and she gave me her spare copy of the Bernardin Guide to Home Preserving book. (Carol is a great enabler! lol). So after my pickle experience I've been itching to do jam.
I had a bit of a struggle finding jars but managed to find some people that sold them -nearby even! Picked two grocery bags full of apricots, laboured over recipes and techniques (and in the end decided to stick with the Bernardin long-boil method) and then got to work!
The recipe called for 1/4 of the fruit to be slightly under ripe which was perfect. I picked out all the fruit that was edible minus a bit or two that needed to be cut off and went to work (I managed to have enough imperfect looking fruit to do the jam and saved all the nicer ones for people to eat plain).
I stuck to the recipe minus hot processing the jars. I just turned them upside down for 5 minutes then flipped them back the right way and waited for the ping of the jars sealing. (very satisfying!!)
In all, I got 14 jars out of two batches (did the second batch the next day). I've given two jars away so far and I'm in the process of trying to find out if I can send some jars home to family.
If anyone is tempted to make jam, I'd say go for it! It's not as scary as it seems (canning and jam making always held the same mystery and perceived difficulty as making bread). Definitely give yourself some time and room to move around the kitchen and if at all possible, don't do it while it's +36C in a house without air conditioning!