Grandma had a utility room in the back of her house, the back door of that room led to the backyard and her prolific vegetable garden. In the utility room she had a wall of shelves where she stored her home-canned goods. As the summer progressed, the shelves would start to fill up with items like canned apricots and peaches, pickles, and jams and jellies of all flavors. Over the winter the shelves would lighten up as she either used her goods or gave them away. I remember her being so proud of her canned goods and they would be arranged in a certain order. Though I loved being the recipient of her fruits and vegetables I didn't quite understand what was so amazing about some shelves with food in jars!
Well, I have become my Grandma. Though I don't have a utility room to store my canned goods, I do have some dedicated shelves in one of my kitchen cabinets. During the summer the shelves fill up with jams and jellies. I get a strange sense of pride seeing this happen, especially knowing that the hours spent prepping and stirring will provide culinary joy for loved ones and friends. My family knows if they are out of jam to grab some out of the cabinet!
So far this year I've made strawberry, apricot, apricot-pineapple and boysenberry jams. Coming soon will be fig, peach, peach-raspberry, and pear vanilla jam. Later this fall I will make batches of apple butter and the canning year will conclude with over 70 jars of pomegranate jelly. In between, I often make some pickles or preserve some peaches.
My 6-year old granddaughter helped me make jam last Saturday. While we were working she asked me how I knew how to make jam. I explained how my Grandma taught me. Doing so brought back memories of her canning shelves. Perhaps, years from now, my granddaughter will recall her Nana's jam shelves while she's making jam for her family!