Last weekend the fiance, our favorite bearded friend and I spent an evening making apricot jam. We'd devoted the entire afternoon to the lake, we swam, jumped off the rock dock, lunched, and lounged. Apricot jam was the perfect end to a nearly perfect summer day. I lit all the candles in the kitchen (of which there are many), opened all the windows, and softly played Bon Iver radio on Pandora. Oh yes, I was setting a jam-making-mood. I love to do that when I cook, scratch that, I like to do that period. I'm a mood setter. I admit it. Make your surroundings lovely and a bit of enchantment is sure to follow. The happier the jam makers were, the better I figured the jam would turn out. My wedding guests are going to hear that soft music, feel that candlelight, or smell that sweet end of summer breeze in their jam, mark my words!
David Lebovitz is one of the few who has never let me down. No matter the recipe, whether it's chocolate ice cream, carnitas, or this apricot jam, the man knows his stuff. I tripled his recipe for apricot jam to produce the 18 jars I needed, and added the guts of a few vanilla beans. My hope was for this small army of jars to mimick the candles I plan to have strewn about our reception dinner, natural beeswax tapers doted with bits of dirt. May sound odd, but it's actually quite stunning. Think vanilla bean studded apricot jam.
I apologize as there are no filled jar pictures to share with you. Sunlight faded quickly that evening, and although the three of us were more than content to make jam by the light of a kitchen filled with candles, my camera did not agree with the lack of natural light. If apricots are still available at your local farm stands or markets, why not pick up a couple of pounds and spend an evening canning a few jars of jam? Your tastebuds will thank you when you pull out a jar of apricot sunshine in the dead of winter. It's also not a bad way to spend one of your last summer days.