When I was a kid and we used to go visit my Grandma and Grandpa Haby on the River Murray we always used to return with a jar of Grandma's Magic Apricot Jam... or just plain ordinary apricot jam to everyone else. Being from a generation where nothing was wasted, excess fruit was always turned to jam in Grandma's house. Food scraps went to the chooks who in turn laid eggs and pecked each other feather-less.
After visits to the family in the Murraylands, sandwiches were always smeared with apricot jam for a long time afterwards.
Grandma lives in an aged care facility now. The trees, I imagine, bear wasted fruit.
Here at my mothers, hundreds of kilometres away from the ochre coloured cliffs of the mighty Murray, is an apricot tree. I never even knew it existed until this year.
As the fruit ripened we might eat some here and there but when the whole tree became abundant, eating it as it was became an unreasonable task.
Mum and I headed to the supermarket and bought some fancy jam jar covers and jam setter. Nanna supplied the jars.
Next thing I know, I'm out the back, picking apricots in 40 degree heat. Then cleaning and cutting it all up. In the pot it went with as much sugar in weight as the fruit. Boil, boil, boil. Scald my hand from the wooden spoon being so short. Dispersed among 11 jars once it all cooled. I think Grandma would be quite impressed with our efforts since it was my first time making jam.
I doubt my jam is magic though. Doesn't have that "special something". Maybe it's missing a certain Grandma's love? Whatever it lacks I'm sure it will make up for in taste.
And the plum tree had better watch out... it's next!