The apricots have arrived with a vengeance. My kids filled a 3-gallon BYU Creamery bucket and a large collander with apricots, and I made 8 batches of jam. That’s 40 cups of fruit, 56 cups of sugar, and 8 packages of pectin. I had an enormous stock pot full of translucent orange jam, which we then transferred into quart and pint jars. Amazingly enough, all of the jars sealed, so they are ready for long-term storage.
When I was younger, making jam always seemed like a bigger production. My dad had one of those big, black canning pots, which to a small child seemed like it was the size of a washtub. Maybe it’s just that I have a lot of help, but it wasn’t that big of a deal making my own jam. I have the same big canning pot, but it doesn’t seem as huge as it was to a little boy helping his dad. It was incredibly hot in the kitchen (and I’ve been dealing with some serious migraines), so it wasn’t all that pleasant. But one of my daughters chopped the apricots, another measured the sugar, and I stirred the hot mixture on the stove. I think we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 jars of jam from that first batch.
But the scary thing is that we haven’t made a dent in the number of apricots on the two trees. The tree out by the street doesn’t get as much direct sun, so it doesn’t have as much fruit as the other one, which is so loaded down that the branches are bending toward the ground. So, we have a lot of jam making to do before we even get to the plums (that tree is loaded, too). And I will be making grape juice when the grapes are on.
The best thing about making jam, though, is spending time with my kids. I don’t know how long they’ll be excited to can fruit and jam, but for now, they think it’s as fun as I do. And having a few hours when we’re doing something productive together is worth all the apricot jam in the world.