I have vivid memories of my mom spending entire afternoons bottling the fresh peaches, apricots, cherries, grapes, & tomatoes from our yard. as a young child i didn't understand the attraction of slaving over a hot stove on a sweltering summer day, but i always enjoyed the results. and now that i'm a mom, with a garden and beautiful fruit trees of my own, i realize how much love went into each and every one of those jars. so last year i started learning the age old art of preserving, and i must say there's nothing more satisfying than the familiar "pop" of a freshly sealed jar.
this week was harvest time for our apricot tree. a late snow (mid june!!) killed off most of the blossoms on our neighborhood trees, but luckily our little fighter was able to make it through with some beautiful fruit. a few days ago the littles and i filled our buckets to the brim, and with the help of nana we whipped up a couple batches of fresh apricot jam. (we particularly liked the pineapple-apricot recipe from the kraft website)
cupcake wrappers or fabric swatches make lovely quick & easy toppers, but the artist in me needed custom labels. so while i set to work on a design, the littles sat down with a bowl of jam and ritz crackers (a favorite treat at our home for sure). while packaging up our goods in preparation to share with loved ones, my 3 & 5 year old daughters took it upon themselves to help with the "dress ups", and surprised me with foam stickers adorning a few of the bottles. such an adorable touch that i never would have thought of, and a fun way to involved the kids in another step of the process. hopefully as adults, when they hear that familiar "pop", they'll be inundated with childhood memories of beautiful summer days spent in the garden (& in the craft room!) with their mother.
lastly, in the interest of full disclosure, i must admit the entire bottling process wasn't all rainbows and unicorns perfect... in a whirlwind of scorching hot pans etc, i ended up melting the side of my precious vitamix!! eep. i won't be forgetting that experience soon enough.