A Taste of Summer

Well, we haven’t really had much of a summer so far, have we? I am talking UK here – I know some of my US readers have had too much heat! But here, in the land of weather – where the best, easiest and most common topic of conversation is THE WEATHER just because it is so variable – we have had weather in spades! Floods, storms, wet, wet wet, where we had hoped for a July with balmy days, even hot here and there, especially as the school holidays come over the horizon.

So I was delighted when the husband returned from a small trip to France bearing six kilos of Apricots. To me, ripe apricots are summer on a stalk, the scent putting me firmly into a warm summer evening, the taste bursting sunshine on the tongue. We ate quite a few – but the majority I turned into jam. If there is one thing more instantly tasting of summer than a ripe apricot it is warm apricot jam. I love the aroma as the apricots simmer in the microwave, and the taste of the jam, still warm, scavenged from the last vestiges stuck to the the bowl before washing, is heavenly.

Yes, I did say microwave. I have adapted a recipe to make my apricot jam in the microwave, it means my jam is almost pure fruit and sugar, not diluted with lots of water. It also means I don’t have to be standing over the hob stirring, stirring , to prevent sticking or burning.

My recipe to make 5 lbs.  of apricot jam.

3lbs Apricots, 3 lbs sugar (half and half granulated/ jam sugar). 3 tablespoons water.

3lbs apricots – wash then stone. if you are able to find a way – crack about 6 of the stones and remove the kernels, blanch these by immersing in boiling water for a few minutes – when boiled up with the apricots they will enhance the pectin level, otherwise just use half Jam Sugar (with added pectin).  Apricots are a medium level pectin fruit and need a little help one way or another to achieve a set.

Place the apricots in a very large glass MW safe bowl with a lid (mine holds 3 litres). Add 3 tablespoons of water. Cook about 10 mins.

Stir and add 3lb sugar (half and half granulated and jam sugar stir in well) unless kernels used when it can be all granulated.

Remove lid, heat 5 mins on high,Stir well, heat 5 mins on high.

Add a piece of butter (about walnut size) to clear the jam. Simmer for 10 mins – test for set.

If not ready give 5 mins more on simmer – until set achieved. Remove kernels if used.

Pot into hot, sterilized jars and seal – Yum! Potted summer! More details under Recipes from the drop-downs

Talking about summer, I have my fingers well and truly crossed for good weather at the end of this week, as it is the Port Eliot Festival. Not some little Cornish village festival, of which we have many, but a national type festival, big, mad, eclectic and set in the beautiful grounds of Port Eliot castle on the banks of the Lynher in Cornwall. Once the site of a the wild Elephant Fayre the festival, after a long absence,  reinvented itself as a literary festival which has grown organically and shape shifted to a festival of all things, almost as eclectic as my blog – there are literary events a plenty, from serious non-fiction through to chic lit,  many with a less than reverent feel, poetry from humorous to serious, dovegreyreader, the  readers-blogger, is there in her special tent, there’s music of many varieties, food demos, food tents run by celebrity chefs, fashion in a big way with renowned milliners and fashion designers creating with weird and wonderful materials right there for you to parade around in, and absolutely amazing flower show and so much more – wandering musicians, jugglers, singers……

And I will be there, along with the rest of the Liskeard Poets, reading our work on the theme of ‘Dancing with…’ in the Round Room at 5pm on Sunday. So if any of you are lucky enough to be attending this year’s festival – do make yourself known to me then, would be great to meet some people I only know by comments or email addresses.

Lastly, don’t forget to claim your free ecopy of LEAVE TO APPEAL – a Novella as a consolation prize from my Win a Kindle Competition. All details of this and results on last week’s blog  It will come as an ecopy in your chosen format and you don’t need an ereader either – it can be easily read on the computer – I look forward to hearing from you.

What brings back memories of summer for you? Is it a photo, long forgotten, a taste, a scent? Do share – I’d love to hear from you!


2 thoughts on “A Taste of Summer

  1. Oh Ann – your description of cooking the apricots and stealing the last remnants of jam from the bowl just made me dribble all over my keyboard!!! Thanks for enhancing the flavour of my evening by reminding me of the simple pleasures in life!
    It was such an amazing literary masterpiece that I can almost smell the apricots and sugar melding together!


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