Mourning the End of a Jar

empty jam jar

One of the most powerful taste memories I have from my childhood years in Southern California is of freshly picked plums. My family’s home in Eagle Rock wasn’t particularly big on the inside, but sat on the flattest part of a extensive, terraced yard. We had three purple plum trees in the side and back yards, and every other year, they produced bumper crops of the most juicy, tender-fleshed plums I’ve ever eaten.

Several of the fruit-producing branches hung low enough for my seven year old self to pick the plums without parental aid and so during their season, I would entertain myself underneath the plum trees. I would pretend that I was Laura Ingalls, helping “Ma” by picking wild fruit into my little bent wood basket. My own mom would sometimes make runny jam with the plums I brought her, or just tuck one into our lunches.

This morning I reluctantly finished a jar of jam I made back in August. I’ve so enjoyed this particular batch, because it tasted so much like our LA plums. The tart flavor of the skin wasn’t obscured by the sugar and the clean, gentle flavor of the plum’s interior was perfectly present as well. Each bite was balanced, fresh and so, so summery.

I wish I had more of this batch, but the rest was given out as favors at our wedding. The only reason this jar stayed with me was that it didn’t seal (darn Quattro Stagioni jars) and so ended up in my fridge instead in the gift stash. I don’t regret that though. I’m actually delighted that so many of our friends and family ended up with jam from such a good batch.

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It seems that we’re finally heading into the waning days of winter. For those of you who spent some time canning last summer, what have been your favorite things to eat from your home canned stash? For me it has been this jam and all the tomatoes I did in those frantic spare moments before the wedding. Leave a comment, I’d love to hear about your winners!

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59 Responses to Mourning the End of a Jar

  1. 51

    I would have to say the chunky applesauce I made from our Northern Spy apples, or maybe roasted tomato salsa. Summer and garden bounty can’t come soon enough!

  2. 52

    It’s so nice to open a jar of something canned last year, isn’t it? Peaches with vanilla bean are a favorites as well as roasted quince. Strawberry jam and currant jelly are also mourned when the last jar is open. And I don’t know if that count but peach liqueur is oh so good!

  3. 53
    Sheila Z says:

    Low sugar apricot jam, with a few additions. Used culls purchased at a discount at the Farmers Market. They were ugly, but the flavor was great. Went to make the jam and discovered there wasn’t enough apricots to make the 4 cup required amount for the recipe. Grabbed a few tiny yellow plums and chopped those up. Still was a bit short, so threw in a small juicy ripe peach. Wow that made the best jam ever. Still have one last jar that I’m going to open to eat with scones on Easter morning.

  4. 54
    Jennifer says:

    I recently finished my last jar of rasberry jam. I picked about 5 pounds of raspberries at a local farm. This year I’m taking my husband so we can get at least 10 pounds. It was my absolute favorite although an apricot butter (still have few jars) came in as a close second.

  5. 55
    Crystal says:

    It would be wonderful if you could post on the facebook page that you have a blog update. Thanking you in advance.

  6. 56
    Marisa says:

    Crystal, I will do that from now on. I honestly had no idea anyone was even following the Facebook page.

  7. 57
    Mama Urchin says:

    I find I can tell what we’ve been eating by what we’ve run out of. And that is strawberry-mint jam, salsa, and tomato sauce.

  8. 58
    Vivian says:

    My most favorite item is Zesty Red Onion Jelly from the Bernardin book. The colour is a delightful pale fuchsia and the taste so fresh and accommodating with cream cheese on a cracker. Most people who taste it are enthralled. When is the best time to make it, when are the purple onions at their best?

  9. 59
    Becky says:

    I was so pleased to see that you gave these as favors at your wedding. My daughter and I are in the middle of planning her wedding for this August and we are planning to give jellies and jams as favors!! How nice your guests received something that they can enjoy. Last year I made my first red raspberry jelly with berries we picked at a local farm. Mmmmm so good. One jar left!

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