Summer Regrets

My son finished off Grandma Jo's
jam in less than two days!
A few weeks ago, my step-mom gave me the loveliest jar of homemade golden plum jam. The jam had a wonderful tart-sweet flavor; tart from the amber skins of the plums and sweet from the flesh. I had barely made it in the door with my prize when my 14-year-old son’s food radar instantly activated and he wanted to know what was in the jar. After one taste, he immediately got out the bread. He spread a slice generously with the jam, folded it in half, and began stuffing it in his mouth.

“Mmmmmm, this stuff is amazing,” he purred.

Then he took out the peanut butter and made sandwiches with the jam. After a sandwich or two, he toasted some bread and slathered the jam on top of melted butter. He said the flavor reminded him a little of apricot preserves only sweeter and smoother. I had never realized my son was such a jelly connoisseur. My step-mom would have thoroughly enjoyed watching him devour her yummy gift. Then came the inevitable question:

“How did Grandma Jo make this?”

I chuckled as I retold the story of how a few days ago, Grandma and Grandpa had gone to Erie Orchards and Grandpa made Grandma Jo climb up a ladder to pick the best plums. 

 "Can you believe he made her climb up a ladder, for Pete's sake?"

“Yeah, but how did she actually make it?”

Although I wasn’t exactly sure how she had made it, I could pretty much guess. I had watched both my mom and step-mom can hundreds of jars of tomatoes, pickles, and jelly. As a kid, it was a familiar part of my summer. I told my son about sterilizing the jars and the lids and the big pot and the rack for the jars. I told him about preparing the fruit and adding sugar and Sure-Jell.  I talked about how sometimes the lids popped as they sealed. My son was genuinely fascinated with the process.

“How come you don’t make jam and pickles and stuff?”

I didn’t answer him right away. I just looked at him and said that canning takes a lot of time and I didn't have all the canning equipment. As I explained this to him I began to feel guilty. Knowing my son, he would have enjoyed the process of making jam as much as he loved eating it. Maybe next summer.


  1. Ah, homemade jam! I was going to go peach picking last week, but didn't b/c of the weather. Perhaps I should go and get some fresh fruit that I can can THIS weekend.

  2. I love your silence and the look you gave him. It made me chuckle. I have a recipe for strawberry freezer jam...probably not quite a good as the plum jam but it is super easy. :)

  3. Yummmmm. . . plum jam! I hope you got to enjoy a bite or two. Maybe you could do a freezer jam, it's easier than canning.

  4. Considering his age, I thought you were going to say you didn't even get a taste! Through the years, my son liked cooking a lot more than my daughter, but we didn't get around to jam except for that strawberry freezer jam Ruth mentioned. Maybe you can get another jar from your step-mom! Diana, I always like hearing the dialogue!

  5. You made my mouth water...and your son's chatter and ravenous appetite made me laugh. Funny how boys can vacuum food down!

  6. I need to use more dialogue in my posts--makes it all the more interesting and down to earth. You still have time to make jam!! I agree--make frozen jam or jelly--very easy and yummy!

  7. I have to admit that I don't feel guilty that I let my mom make all the jams. She knows what she is doing. I hope that my daughters will learn from her, and I can just eat what they prepare.
    I like the structure of your text.

  8. Your descriptions made me want to either eat the jam myself or watch your son eat it. Not sure which would bring the most joy, but I think it's a close call.

  9. The conversation added so much to this piece. I like how you structured it. I chuckled reading, "my 14-year-old son’s food radar instantly activated." Great slice!
    Hope your year is beginning well. :)MHG

  10. Remind him next summer, and maybe he'll help you! This reminded me of that poem - Reflections on the gift of a watermelon pickle.


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