I made a small batch of nectarine jam last week. The nectarines were from my neighbor’s tree that I harvested before our trip to Maine. I cut out the pits and frozen them. When I found myself at loose ends last week, I decided to make pull them out of the freezer and give it ago.
It was a quiet morning, with Sophia at school and Jon working from home on his computer. I put 12 jars in the dishwasher and the lids in a small bowl with boiling water to soak. I had pandora playing softly in background. I pureed the nectarines and tasted them. They were a bit tart. I decided to add a touch more sugar than my recipe called for, just to sweeten it up a bit.
While the mixture of nectarines, sugar, and lemon juice slowly began to boil, I thought back to the other times I’ve made jam in this kitchen. It’s usually a boisterous affair, with lots of kids running underfoot and friends helping and chatting. This occasion couldn’t have been more different, but it wasn’t sad. Just different. It was nice to be by myself, alone with my thoughts.
Before putting the jam into the jars, I tasted the jam. It stopped me, with its caramel sugar flavor. I immediately wanted to get Jon, some good cheese and crackers, and then find place to eat this jam… But I decided to keep working and enjoy the fruits of my labor later when Sophia was home from school at snack time. I knew Jon would like an uninterrupted day of work and would appreciate the jam more later.
Since I used my smaller pot for the water bath, I set the time and went back to some sewing projects. Every ten minutes, I’d go replace the jars in the water bath and listen to the sound of the pings! every couple of minutes in between. It was a lovely symphony of pings!
Later that afternoon, Sophia sampled my nectarine jam with me. While her palette doesn’t lend itself to the particular cheese I offered (goat gouda), she found the jam to her liking. Which was evident by the crackers licked clean of jam and then begging for more jam. It was a nice way to spend the day. I did eventually take half of the jars over to my neighbor to share in the jam goodness.