Yesterday I went over to my neighbor Jackie's house and helped her make a batch of apricot jam. She is 85 years old and her hands have grown so shaky that she isn't able to do everything she use to. She and I share a love of cooking and I am always happy when she invites me over to help out and then shares a delicious tried and true recipe.
5 cups chopped apricots (can leave the skins on) 1 cup crushed pineapple (drained) 8-10 maraschino cherries (chopped) 5 cups sugar 1 tsp. fresh lemon zest juice from 1/2 of a fresh lemon 1 small package orange jello
In a large pot, place everything EXCEPT the orange jello. Bring to a boil and simmer for 25 minutes. If foam forms on the top, add 1 tsp. butter and stir until foam disappears. Add the orange jello last and mix well. Seal in half pint jars. Makes 8 half pint jars of jam.
****Jackie's secret: You don't need fancy canning equipment for this recipe. Here is a quick and easy way to seal the jars. 1) Bring a small pan of water to a boil. 2) Boil the jars and the lid rings (1-2 at a time) to sterilize. Set aside to dry on a clean cloth. 3) Fill sterilized jars with the jam mixture and wipe around the lip of the jar with a wet, clean cloth. 4) Place new canning lids in the boiling water for a minute or two. 5) Remove lids from hot water and place on jars, then screw on rings until tight. 6) One or two at a time, turn the jars upside down and place them in the pot of boiling water (the water should be deep enough to just cover the lid). Allow to boil for about 2 minutes. Remove from the boiling water and place upright. 7) Jars will seal perfectly within an hour or two.
Some people have accused me of being a good cook, but the truth is I am just an avid collector of good recipes. I am not above writing a recipe on the back of a napkin, on a receipt buried in my purse or even on a dollar bill if it becomes necessary. For me, cooking and baking is so much more than food. When I'm in the kitchen, I feel connected to my family and friends (old and new, living and gone) through the recipes they have shared with me. Each recipe has a story behind it and I wouldn't include it here if it didn't. I love the way my house feels when it is filled with the smell of something delicious in the oven. Cooking and baking relaxes me and helps me connect to the less-hectic life that I long for. If only the mess could clean itself up:0)
I will be working over the next several months to save and post all of the recipes from my Tried and True recipe book. I will also be adding many more new and delicious recipes for you all to enjoy. Bon Appetit!