Here and There

Monday, June 29, 2015

Apricot Jam, End of June

The past few weeks have been a transition: "back to work" and "school's out for the summer" being the biggest reasons.  I have been challenged to hold it all loosely in order to keep my sabbatical lessons learned.  Taking time to be quiet.  Picking up a book in the middle of the afternoon with the sole intention to learn or enjoy.  Avoiding multi-tasking work tasks and family time specifically. 


Our apricot tree is full of fruit this year and I've been making jam.  Making jam seems like a lot of work, but it is very satisfying and only takes about an hour. Here's how I do it.

Apricot Jam

Supplies:
You need 8 half pint jars, with rings and lids.  A very large pot with a rack in it, or a canner. A funnel.  A few dishcloths.

Ingredients:
8 cups of apricots,pitted and quartered.
6 cups of granulated sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice.

Get the water boiling in the canner, it takes a long time to come up to a boil.  Once it's almost boiling, put the jars in the water to get them sterilized.  In a smaller pot, boil the lids and rings so they are hot when you want to use them.  

Combine the apricots, sugar and lemon juice in another large pot.  Start it off at medium high heat and stir it a lot at first so the sugar doesn't burn.  Once the sugar is dissolved, stir occasionally.  Once it is at a rapid boil, let it go for about 15-20 minutes, stirring constantly at times, if it seems wild.  You want to keep it cooking at a high heat, not simmering.  To test to see if it is set, you can check temperature (220 degrees) or just take a spoonful out and let it cool.  Once the spoonful is cool you can kind of nudge it and look at it and just see if it looks like jam, or if it is still too liquidy.  Once it is set, take your jars out of the canner, keep the water boiling.  Fill each jar with jam, leaving about a half inch space at the top.  Wipe the rim with a slightly damp cloth and then place the lid and screw the ring on.  Not too tight.  After all the jars are lidded, put them all in the canner in the boiling water and let them process for 10 minutes.  Take them out of the boiling water and put them on a clean towel on the counter with space for air to circulate between the jars.  They will start to ping right away.  You can check to see if you have a good seal when the jars are cool by running your finger over the top of the jar.  If it is sucked in at the center and doesn't pop in and out, it is sealed.  If it didn't seal, just put it in the fridge and use it first.  With this method though, I've never had it not seal.



Wednesday, June 03, 2015

"I Know It's Over

...it never really began.  But in my heart, it was so real."  --The Smiths

Any time i think the words "it's over" I think of this song line.  One of my favorite songs.  And although this song has nothing to do with it, my sabbatical is over.  I just loved it.  I learned so much, I enjoyed myself so much. Even though I had barely written on this blog the last few years, I am so glad I documented the time here.  It has helped me to look back and see the snapshot moments of the time.    I have no idea who reads my blog, I think a few friends.  But putting it out there has been nice.  Maybe I will keep posting more.






















On my last day of sabbatical, we went to Shell Beach in Tomales Bay.  It is an all time favorite place.  I love the short hike down.  It is so still and quiet when you are there at the edge of the water, barely a wave at all, and the cove is so sheltered. 


Maggie took a picture of me last week. 

One nice thing was reading A LOT the past few months.  So many great books and poems.  It's been fun to update my list of books for 2015 and see it grow longer and longer.  Some things I did more easily during the break, that I will need to practice at to keep in my life:  reading, yoga class, writing, less multitasking.