Dried Apricot Jam

So, here it goes. My first blog post, and what a timely entry this will be.

My grand-daughter, Rainbow is coming to stay with me - something that I'm looking forward to and worried about in equal parts. You see, the last time I saw Rainbow, it was about eight years ago. This was when her father, Robbie Robertson took the family on tour with him. Of course my daughter, Jenni was with them.  They haven't been back to South Australia since.The spend a lot of time on the road.

You might have heard of Rob - he's with the band, Medulla Oblongata. You've heard of them? Thought so. I can't stand their early stuff, but the lastest album should be okay. It appears the band have discovered that they are mortal.

So Rob, Jenni and Rainbow have been all over the world since then, living a life I can hardly imagine. She's had tutors, been living out of suitcases and probably having an amazing time.

Anyway, last week, my daughter Jenni called. We haven't really talked much over the last few years. She was distraught. Had no idea what to do. Rainbow has not been behaving well. Running away in foreign cities, mucking up for her mother, not doing her studies (and doing all of the things that a twelve-year-old girl will do sometimes, just like her mother did at the same age)

She asked if I could take Rainbow for the next six months. Have her come live with me, here in Yourponga, South Australia. She reckons being away from the high life will be good for her.

There aren't many places to run to here at Hippy Corner. The nearest neighbours, the Dubbers, are a two kilometres away. 

I'm not sure if I want a twelve-year-year old with me. I have things to do. There's the local council to picket. Letters to politicians to write. There's a rally I want to go to about saving the waterways. For heaven's sake, I'm retired. Raising a child is a full time job.

Anyway, when I get worried, I make jam - and as it's not stone fruit season yet, dried apricot jam it will have to be. There is something very calming in the stirring.

This is my grandmother's recipe, passed down from numerous Cornish housewives.

Bits needed:

Very large stock pot
Sterilised jam jars, preferably recycled and re-purposed to hold 1.5 kgs of jam in total.
A clean wooden spoon - if you don't have a designated jam spoon, buy a new one. You don't want your jam tasting like onions or chilli or whatever else your wooden spoon may have been used for before it hits the jam.

1 kilogram of good quality dried apricots (Not the cheap ones from the supermarket - splurge a bit)
1 kilogram of jam sugar or general purpose white sugar
If you're a bit cheeky, half a packet of jam setter
16 glasses of water.

What you do:

1)  Soak the dried apricots overnight in the sixteen cups of water.

2)  Clear a few hours in your day.

3)  On the stove top, bring the jam to a fast boil and boil for one hour.

4) Add the sugar.

5)  Keep stirring - this jam catches on the bottom of the pan really easily, so you can't really leave the kitchen. Just keep stirring.

6)  After about an hour of boiling, the jam will change to a golden colour.

7) Test the jam has set by placing a small amount on a cold plate. Once it sets, remove the jam from the heat.

8)  While it's still warm, bottle the jam in the sterilised jars.

This will keep in the cupboard for years if the jars remain airtight, unopened and they are left in a cool, dark place.

I can see myself making a bit of jam over the next few months.

Never to mind, it will keep the Greenpeace Trading Table at the local market in stock.

I'd better go. It's a bit wet and windy outside. I should tie down the caravan before it gets blown away. They've said it's the first time a cyclone has hit South Australia. I'll just call it global warming and be done with it.