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Eat Snacks

The Joy of Apricot Jam

 

Apricot jam brings me great joy.

I can take one lick of the sweet, tangy, golden goodness and be immediately transported to another time and place. I’m taken back to our honeymoon spent in Greece. I’ve been sharing My Yanni’s scrumptious Greek family recipes this summer and Yaya’s simple apricot jam has to be one of my favorites. Isn’t it fascinating how food can instantaneously connect us to our past through our sense of taste? The *ahem* older I get the more I become aware of the things that really matter in life.

I’ve realized that some of the most important things in life are actually the simplest of things.

Family & friends, love & laughter and the memories that are woven out of them…those are the things that bring me the greatest joy.

Remembering something as simple as the early morning walks with My Yanni to fetch a fresh loaf of bread for Yaya’s apricot  jam, can bring a smile to my lips. Finding the photo of My Yanni climbing Yaya’s apricot tree…now that makes me smile ear to ear.

Yaya’s apricots were like tasting golden sunshine packed inside a soft, fuzzy orb. And the jam that they made…that Yaya Eftehia made…was like nothing I’ve ever tasted.

Pure perfection.

Even better yet, Yaya’s name Eftehia, means joy. And boy, if that jam didn’t bring joy to all who tasted it. For years My Yanni & I have fondly talked about that apricot jam. We  laugh about sneaking bites out of the sweet boiling pot before it was time, and how yaya would scold us and chatter to herself as she shooed us out of her kitchen. I still to this day have the recipe I scribbled down as My Yanni translated Yaya’s instructions but until recently, I’ve never attempted to make her golden goodness.

Until now.

This simple bowl of apricots inspired me to dig out Yaya’s apricot jam recipe.

Isn’t that funny that a simple bowl of apricots could quietly encouraged me to make Yaya’s jam?

And boy am I glad I did.

Let me show you how easy it is…

Wash, cut and remove pits from apricots.

Place apricots in a pot with a tiny bit of water- I put in one teaspoon.

Cook apricots over a low heat, stirring occasionally soft.

Keep an eye on the pot as they cook down and eventually soften. I had a pound of apricots and it took about an hour.

Once soft, squash them with a wooden spoon or fork and measure the amount of gooey deliciousness in a measuring cup. For every one cup of fruit add one cup of sugar. Isn’t that easy? That tip demystified making jam for me.

I shall never be afraid to make jam again. 

Add sugar.

The addition of sugar will make the consistency of the jam temporarily thinner, so continue to cook over low heat, (for about 30-45 minutes) stirring occasionally until jam starts to thicken.

I have another easy tip from Yaya that put the joy into making jam for me.

Simply drip a drop of jam into a bowl of water. If the dripped drop stays…

the jam is ready…if the drip dropped melts away it needs to cook longer. How fun is that?

Once the jam is drip-drop tested, squeeze in some fresh lemon juice (I used half a lemon for the one pound of apricots) and a few drops of good vanilla. Let cool, spoon jam into a covered jar or even a bowl and keep refrigerated.

Or better yet…

Grab a spoon and dig in.

Ahhh, the simple joy of apricot jam.

Pure perfection.

Wenderly

Easy Homemade Apricot Jam

(makes about 2 small jars)

What You’ll Need:

1 pound apricots
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon water
Juice of half a lemon
2 drops good vanilla

Note: Ratio of apricots to sugar is one to one. Measure the fruit after it is cooked down and soft.

What You’ll Do:

Wash, cut and remove seeds in the apricots.

Place apricots in a pot with 1 Tablespoon of water.

Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about an hour until apricots cook down and become soft.

When apricots are soft smash them with a fork or wooden spoon.

Add one cup of sugar and continue to cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about another 30-45 minutes until jam starts to thicken.

To test for correct consistency, drip a drop of the jam into a bowl of water, if the drip stays in a ball in the water the jam is ready.

Add juice of half a lemon, 2 drops of vanilla, stir and let cool.

Place in your favorite container and store in refrigerator.

Enjoy!

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Appetizers Decorate Eat Inspire Parties

Simple & Sweet Farmer’s Market Treat!

I just adore my local Farmer’s Market! There is nothing more satisfying than waking up on a Saturday morning, rolling out of bed, grabbing a cup of coffee, my favorite straw bag and heading out to a Farmer’s Market! I love strolling up and down the white tent lined streets, admiring the many fresh just-picked-from-the-garden-fruits and vegetables… and the flowers! Be still my heart. Just being surrounded by such beauty and color tantalizes all of my senses and inspires me to come up with new fun ways to prepare simple, delicious, wholesome food.

I know what you’re probably thinking…

why am I talking about fresh fruits and veggies while showing photos of jam? Right?

Well just so you know, I did buy some fabulous veggies while enjoying my first Farmer’s Market trip of the season! I will be sharing those recipes with you in the days to come and will feature weekly recipes that will be inspired by my Farmer’s Market endeavors. For now, I thought it best to ease you into the Farmer’s Market experience with something as simple and delicious as it is easy. So for now, it’s all about the jam.

Jam… sweet, sweet jammie jam.

While I was strolling along amongst the fruits and veggies, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a darling tent filled with vibrant colors and sweet little precious  jars of jam. It was so full of cheer and happy chatter that I found myself eager to join in the fun by grabbing a spoon and sampling the sweet jam nestled in these cute little jars…

I could have stood there forever, happy as a little lark, licking spoons full of jam all afternoon.

Then I realized that people would stare, and start to talk about the lady licking spoons full of jam, so I decided against it.

But talk about a party in your mouth!

Oh MY!

And it’s made of fruit so it HAS to be good for you, right? Well at least I think so.

After sampling a few more jams, I decided that I just couldn’t live without the Hot Pepper Strawberry jam. It had the perfect balance of sweet meets spicy and I instantly new what I wanted to prepare.

I headed for home, straw bag in tow, eager to treat my family to the sweet, spicy goodness that I had just fallen in love with. And boy let me tell you, I had no clue what a hit it would be.

If I had known, I’d have bought a case of the sweet & spicy stuff!

So here we go…

And these are the three ingredients folks…homemade hot pepper strawberry jam, a brick of cream cheese and some of your favorite crackers (I prefer whole grain crackers myself) and…

but of course… a spoon!

Grab the main ingredient….Hot Pepper Strawberry jam (just typing those words makes me start to drool).

As you can see, I prefer to empty the jar into a separate bowl for extra dollops of the good stuff.

Go ahead and enjoy a few spoonfuls, but I’ll caution you that once you start it’s hard to stop. You may just want to buy two jars, one for tasting and the other for this yummy snack/ delightful appetizer.

It’s just a thought.


Now with your spoon just slather enough jam to cover the top of the cream cheese and allow a few artistic dribbles to cascade down the sides.

But make sure not to use the spoon that you’ve been sampling with.

It just doesn’t get any simpler than this does it?

Next grab a cracker, dip it into the cream cheese slathered with sweet, spicy hot pepper strawberry jam…

now close your eyes…and enjoy the oooey gooey sweet and spicy flavors mixed with the cool cream cheese and salty crunch of the cracker.

Don’t be surprised when you hear an involuntary “mmmmmm” come humming out of the corners of your mouth, which can get kinda messy with cracker crumbs and all.

And remember that a simple, sweet Farmer’s Market treat is only a jar of jam away!

Or an empty jar of jam that is…boo hoo!

ENJOY!

(and don’t forget to lick the spoon)

Wenderly

Do you enjoy your local Farmer’s Market? What’s your favorite Farmer’s Market food find? Please share below!