Golden Goodness

I do not know much about food preservation. Luckily, I enjoy learning new things. So last summer, when I got to try my hand at canning with my aunt, I decided that this was something I should learn, primarily because I really enjoyed the fruits of my labors (namely, grape jelly, peaches, and apple butter in the dead of winter), even though I wasn’t a big fan of slaving over a hot stove in the middle of the summer. So this year, without my aunt’s supervision or help, I decided to try canning again. The first crop available for my practice came from my grandparent’s apricot tree. Unlike last year, which yielded three small, bird-pecked apricots, this year’s apricot harvest was plentiful to say the least. I haven’t been able to pick the things fast enough, and many are lying waste on my lawn, much to my chagrin.

So I’ve been trying to think of ways to use these little orange fruits. First, I should say that they are very small (about the size of a golf ball or less), so cutting them in half to can seemed a little silly. Plus, I don’t really like apricots by themselves. No, I just couldn’t bring myself to make jars and jars of apricot halves that I knew that I would never enjoy, and probably never eat. So I decided to go with jam and preserves, because I’ve had both before and felt like they would be something that I would eat (and get my husband and baby to eat). Also, I can think of at least half a dozen tasty dessert ideas that involve apricot preserves/jam. Of course, deciding to make jam, and actually making it are very different things, and I didn’t anticipate how labor intensive and sticky the whole process would be. But in the end, I felt very satisfied with my accomplishment. Which is good, because I still have pounds and pounds left to process. It’s a lot of work, but looking at these amber-colored bottles is plenty of encouragement, don’t you think? If you’re interested in laying up your own store of this yummy treat, I used the Ball recipe for the jam, and the recipe I found here for the preserves (the main difference between the two is the amount of sugar and the consistency). Good luck, and happy canning!

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