Not jam tomorrow

Close up shot of apricots in a bowl, two empty glass jars and a bag of jam setting sugar. Preparations for apricot jam-making. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Unlike Alice, to whom the Queen offers jam tomorrow (1), the Big T will have jam today. Apricot jam to be precise.

In a rather reckless moment you see, I bought 10 kilos (20lbs) of apricots.

Well, At $1.59 per kilo (admittedly, based on buying the whole 10kg box), it would have been wrong not to.

So I am going to make jam. Jam today. Jam for us, and jam to enter into the preserves competition of some upcoming A&P shows (think County Fairs).

I like making jam. It’s fairly easy and generally rewarding; a good way to preserve excess fruit. The notion of competitive jam-making however, is both new to me, and daunting.

And that’s kind of the point. I’m easily distracted and a hopeless procrastinator. Last year when I discovered a townie friend regularly enters her garden produce and preserves in A&P competitions, I thought “how cool, I should do that.”

So I am. I’ve downloaded the entry forms, diarised the delivery dates and bought the fruit.

The phrase “jam tomorrow” expresses an unfulfilled promise (2); we are definitely going to have jam today.

(1) From Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There

… “The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day.”
“It must come sometimes to ‘jam to-day’,” Alice objected.
“No, it can’t,” said the Queen. “It’s jam every other day: to-day isn’t any other day, you know.”

(2) Since Carroll’s use, the phrase has also been employed by CS Lewis, John Maynard Keynes and singer/song-writer Billy Bragg.

46 thoughts on “Not jam tomorrow

  1. Happy jam making! I love it too. 😊 Never thought about competing though but there aren’t many A&P’s around here πŸ˜‰ The apricots look really yummy, hope you will pop some fresh ones into your mouth as well as into the pot! πŸ˜„ xxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hehe. I can imagine. I was surprised at how many shows still exist here, even around Auckland which is very urban. The apricots are good; I suspect more than a few will be hijacked on the way to the pot. xxxxxx πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to love apricot jam! Have thought about making marmalade as the Seville oranges are in store at the moment, but then I’d have to eat it all and I’m currently trying to avoid bread. Can’t have marmalade (or apricot jam) without fresh crusty bread or toast. Good luck with the competition, if you manage to complete the forms πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love marmalade, and made lots from our last big crop of grapefruit. Luckily T likes it too, and it keeps pretty well. I can manage one (or two thin) slices of sourdough without feeling bloated, but shop-bought bread is definitely not my friend.
      The forms are not too daunting; but there’s nowhere that tells me what size the jam jars are meant to be!! I normally use quite small jars since I give lots of preserve away and find a small amount is a better gift, but I’m not sure if that will be ok :-/ I’d hate to be disqualified for looking mean with quantity!

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    • πŸ™‚ cheapest I’ve seen them for years, and they’re in good condition. I suspect more than a few won’t make it into the jam.
      I’m not expecting to be “a contender” competitively, but I really like having a deadline, and also being part of a tradition that celebrates what are basically life-skills. Of course, it may be a totally cut-throat world in which the unscrupulous secretly sabotage the competition for the irresistible adrenal rush of a blue rosette and the $10 prize voucher. I guess I’ll find out.

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  3. I love making jam, which I learned how to do from my Gram Bette. I do admit to experiencing a sinking feeling when I get home from the market with my haul, sort already tired, and then realize I still have hours of work yet to go. Usually the second wind hits once I smell the fruit cooking, and then I’m glad I started. Eager to hear how it goes for you.

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    • Thanks. I wonder why so many people feel intimidated by it. It was such a common thing for women to do when I was growing up, I accept it as a normal part of summer. I’m not much of a baker, but preserves seem within my capabilities. πŸ™‚


  4. Oh NZ apricots I drool at the thought of them, so sweet and yummy and what a great price. From Otago? well I won’t buy apricots over here they are always tough, leathery, paltry little things. Good luck at the show. Let us know how you get on.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hubble says he wished he lived closer-he would help you and would also be a very handy taste tester πŸ˜‰ Love that image too Su! It always suggests to me the promise (and hope in my case) that the latest baking or cooking endeavor will end well-

    Liked by 1 person

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