I have been putting together a reading list for my rising 2nd-grader. It has been a much more difficult process than I anticipated -- and much more fun. So many great books out there! How can I narrow it down to what we can read in a year? I have serious FOMO (fear of missing out) when it comes to children's literature. This is my list so far, if you're looking for something to read with a second-grade girl. While I was sorting through books, I came across Bread and Jam for Frances, which may be my absolute favorite children's book. Not only is it about a picky eater, but the descriptions of the Badger family meals are fabulous. And their lunches!
That's Frances, setting out a doily and a little vase of flowers at her school desk, before she eats her lunch -- which Mother sends with a little cardboard shaker of salt! Wonder where I can get one of those?
So after rereading this little gem, I was inspired to make -- what else? -- jam. I had a few apricots that needed to be used. This was a very small batch of jam, so I wasn't worried about canning it. It just made one jar that I knew would be eaten quickly. It was really simple -- less than half an hour from inspiration to warm jam on bread.
I peeled and chopped the apricots and used a 3:1 ratio of fruit to sugar. I ended up with three cups of fruit and one of sugar. Mix the sugar and fruit and let sit while the sugar dissolves into syrup, maybe 10 minutes or so. Use a wide, shallow pan to cook the jam so that the water can cook out of the fruit quickly. You want to keep the fresh fruit flavor by not over cooking. Stir constantly over medium high heat. The jam will start to thicken and develop a sheen. My batch took about 15 minutes. You can check to see if it will set by putting a small spoonful in the freezer until it cools off. If it looks like jam, it's done. This made a little less than two cups.