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The blueberries at No Frills are near-perfect and relatively inexpensive ($1.47 per pint), so I stocked up and started making blueberry jam. I also made apricot syrup, and I’ve got another batch of blueberry jam mix and kiwi jam mix ready for tomorrow’s canning session.
I like making preserves. When we discovered canning during our wonderful stay-at-home vacation last year, we made apricot syrup, blueberry jam, and jalapeno jelly. The jalapeno jelly got finished quickly, as it turned out to be totally awesome with crackers and cream cheese. The blueberry jam was perfect paired with fresh-baked biscuits. The apricot syrup went really well with pancakes and with banana bread. It’s been more than a year since we bought maple syrup, which used to be a staple in our pantry.
It’s fun giving people home-made gifts, too. There’s a Filipino tradition of pasalubong – gifts brought home after a trip. It’s similar to the Japanese custom of omiyage, almost a social obligation. With globalization, what I can buy in Toronto is probably cheaper in Manila. Home-made jams and jellies are more than just preserves, though- they’re thought and time and love all wrapped up.
It turns out to be surprisingly easy to make syrups, jams, and jellies, if you don’t mind dealing with kid-boggling quantities like seven cups of sugar for one batch. (Seriously. Even J- said, “Whoa, that’s a lot of sugar.) Prep and clean-up take the biggest blocks of time, and then each batch of seven jars takes maybe 20 minutes total. It’s tiring, though – all that time on your feet! Comfy slippers help.
I’m not sure if we’re going to be able to prepare more bottles of jalapeno jelly in time for Saturday’s tea party, but there’ll always be another excuse to get together. =) We’ll have blueberry jam and kiwi jam, though, and it might be interesting to combine them.