Jammy Memories


Eddie and I were in Bartell’s the other day and I saw some Apricot-Pineapple jam from Smuckers.  It immediately reminded me of the jam Mom used to make from scratch – I loved her apricot-pineapple the best.  I had to buy it and then Eddie and I started talking about it because he loved the apricot jam his Mom made.

Smuckers

Sunday we had it for breakfast and talked about our Moms because they both enjoyed cooking and trying new things.  My Mom made a lot of jam, this is how I remember her Apricot-Pineapple:

jam apricot:pineapple

She often collect peanut butter jars, small mayo jars and often a collection of miscellaneous jars for jam.  She would cook it on the stove and add pectin and sugar – Mom and Dad were on a tight budget, so Mom did a lot of canning and preserving.  Then she would sterilize the jars and add the jam.  when it was cool, she poured a layer of paraffin on the top, then later a second layer to seal the jar.  She often had lids to put on to seal it even more.  I remember some of it was the devil to get off, it would split into pieces and then we had to dig them out.  Other times, the paraffin popped out in one piece – no delay in enjoying the jam.

We used to pick the little blackberries and sometimes we had enough for blackberry jam – often it was more likely a pie.  We had blueberries by the back porch – still do and they have a bumper crop this year – for blueberry pie and sometimes jam.  There were raspberry bushes along the side of the property and we had lots of raspberry jam.  I would go out in the morning and pick a big bowl, then late after I could do another big bowl.  We also ate berries fresh for breakfast and occasional blueberry pancakes.

Mom did a lot of canning – all three of us girls helped her.  The most uncomfortable was peaches – yes,, Mom would pour boiling on the peaches and the skins would come off easily.  The cut them in half and remove the pit and into the jar.  The problem was the peach fuzz, it got all over me and was itchy and scratchy – how could a lovely, soft and delicious peach be so uncomfortable afterward?  Tomatoes  were also done with boiling water, but no scratchy fuzz. Mom would get flats of tomatoes because she used them a lot in cooking, so it seemed there were more tomatoes than anything else.   Apricots were cut in half with pit removed and put in the jars.  The Royal Anne cherries were washed, stems removed and put into jars with syrup.The fruits had syrup added to the jars when there wasn’t any room for more fruit – I think she put a little salt and tomato juice in with the tomatoes, not sure if there was anything else.  I’m trying to remember if she tried her hand at dill pickles – that’s the trouble getting older, there are more and more memories and my mind often feels as if it is a room with over stuffed file drawers with memories spilling on to the floor.

King Kelly

This is another jammy memory.  This reminds me so much of my aunt and also when I met Eddie.  My Dad’s older sister lived in San Francisco Bay Area and I had been visiting a couple of times with Mom and Dad.  Every morning she and my uncle would have fresh squeezed orange juice, coffee and English muffins with King Kelly Orange Marmalade.  When I went down to spend a couple of weeks holiday with her in May of 1968, that was what we had for breakfast.  I met Eddie a couple of days after I arrived and we went out a lot – I remember the room I stayed in and a lot of different places in Burlingame.

It was an enjoyable time, though I had no idea it would end in going to Australia to marry him.  My life has been very interesting and educational since I married Eddie, I have learned so much, traveled to places I always wanted to go and some I am glad I went but have no desire to return.  I remember when we moved to New Jersey I couldn’t find King Kelly jam, nor any other place in the Eastern half of the U.S.   I had to buy it here when I came to see Mom and Dad and take it back with me.  Every time I have it on my toast, I think of my aunt and uncle and the times I spent with them.  It also reminds me so much of meeting Eddie for the first time and learning about him – I had never heard of an Armenian before and in 48 years, I have learned quite a lot about them.

Funny (peculiar) how something so simple can generate so many wonderful memories.

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2 Responses to “Jammy Memories”

  1. Charlotte Trayer Says:

    Oh, my, what memories you brought back, Liz!! My mom was a canner, also–she canned fruits (apricots, peaches, cherries, blueberries, rhubarb, maybe applesauce), veggies (mostly tomatoes, but also green beans and maybe peas and/or corn), jams (blueberry, strawberry, peach, apple butter, probably others), jellies (apple, raspberry, etc.), and pickles.

    Oh, did she can pickles!! Bread-and-butter pickles, dill pickles (The Best Ever–absolutely no garlic in them!–just dill, vinegar, etc.), and, the best of the best, used sparingly thru the year to make the small batch last–pickled crab apples. She tried making pickled crab apples after we moved to Seattle, but the crab apples here are not hard enough to pickle–they turned kind of mushy. Major disappointment, because they were everyone’s favorite!

    Thanks for the memories–yours, and reminding me of mine!!

    • Lee Kaplanian Says:

      It’s interesting how I see something and just go on, other times it sharply reminds me of my childhood or an incident. I think my sisters will remember the canning – we all enjoyed the fruits of our labor. I’m so glad it brought such happy memories for you; more and more I realize how many things we have in common.

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