An 87 Year Old Lebanese Women and Apricot Jam…

On Saturday 25th of June 2011, I had a visit to one of the villages in Mount Lebanon, Lebanon.

There were large green fields filled with all kinds of trees from plums, apricots, peaches, walnuts, pine trees, apples, kiwi, avocadoes, and cherries to large fields of planted vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, garlic and much more.

There was an 87 year old women; a mother of 4 and a grandma of 10. She has lived in her house and in these fields for more than 50 years now and she still wakes up on the whispering of those lovely blossoming trees feeling young as ever.

I asked her about her apricot trees and she said: “50 years ago we spent most of our times in the fields, the fields were our life… All what we planted and all what harvested was always kept for the harsh days; back then it was war and the environment was different , winter was a season to think off all year long, we didn’t have fridges or any means of storage thus all our harvest must be transformed into our winter food, for the Mouneh.”

She continued her talk about apricots. She said: “Apricots were eaten fresh in their season and then made into jam, jam was one of the best desserts we used to eat, I used to make my children jam and butter sandwiches as a 3asrouniyeh (afternoon dessert) and give my husband a jam pot to take it with him to the fields during work hours, back then there was no chocolate” and she laughed…
And so we prepared together a sample of her Apricot Jam. Have a look and why not try it yourself.

The Apricot Tree

The Apricots on the tree

Pick up the Apricots

Clean the Apricots

Remove the Seeds

In our days we didn’t have any toys, so we used to dry the apricot seeds and play a game called: “La22out” (it’s trying to catch the seeds without letting them fall)

Add the apricots with sugar in a wide sauce pan, of ratio 1:1. That means every 1kg of cleaned apricots need 1 kg of sugar.

Set them on high heat for few minutes

Then turn down the heat and keep them to boil

Keep on stiring, while boiling, until the jam smells starts to appear (it needs around 25 to 30 minutes)

To know if it’s done, take a bit and taste them, it should feel sticky on your tongue, try not to over cook because then it’ll become bitter

Fill the jam in a glass jar while still hot, yet the jar should be set in water to prevent the cracking of the glass

Here is the Apricot jam. Keep the jar to cool for 24 hours, then melt some candels and cover the top before closing the lid, to prevent mold accumalation (3afan)

W alf sa7tein 🙂

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