There is nothing to me that screams summer quite as loudly as spending an afternoon standing over a hot pot of boiling fruit and sugar. Many an hour have I stood over the stove in my grandmother’s kitchen, stirring, making batch after batch of jam, until there was nary an apricot left in the tri-state area. Oh how I loved and hated those days. It is the best, worst experience in a cook’s yearly schedule. But, oh what a sweet reward you reap. Months later, even in the dead of winter, you can pop open a jar of these golden, amber preserves, and you can literally taste a spoon full of summer sunshine.There are only a hand full of things that can bring me back to a very specific place, and time, and feeling. A certain cologne, a certain song on the radio, a certain special place. But the smell of bread baking, and the taste of melting butter and apricot jam are all that I need to be transported back in time. It is the smell of my childhood. I am reminded at times like these what a sacred venture cooking really is. We are not just feeding our bodies. We are nourishing our souls. The recipe my grandmother used is very simple. Five cups of coarsely chopped, farm fresh apricots, one generous third of a cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, seven cups of sugar, two tablespoons of butter (to prevent foaming), and one package of Sure*Jell powdered fruit pectin (I am usually never brand specific, but in this case it really does make a difference) and follow the cooking instructions here or on the box. It is nothing more than exactly what apricot jam should be: like biting into the very best apricot you have ever had. Perfection. This is hands down the best jam in the world, I could seriously eat the whole jar with a spoon. Enjoy!