When I was younger I hated my hands. I would look at the hands of other women and then compare them to my own. Theirs would be slender and dainty with nicely shaped nails that were usually painted a beautiful color. Mine however were big and squarish with long fingers and I rarely painted my nails because I could almost never get my nails long enough to paint. Even when I tried it didn’t work because my big bulky somewhat clutzy fingers would have me end up with more polish on my fingers than on my nails. And as I got even older and had more kids and the life that goes with that, things like wanting nice nails had to be put aside. My hands were, in my mind, just tools and not very pretty ones either. My only pride was that they were soft and smooth and I never got age spots and all the rest of the signs of getting older that tend to show on a womans hands.
But as I’ve aged (I’m an ancient 46 now 😛 ), I’ve realized that my hands were never just tools; they were instruments. One day, they would be the sound of a flute as I would tickle my children and make them laugh. At other times, they would be the discordant but necessary bang of an out of tune piano when I had to deliver a spanking. Then later, they would be the whisper of a harp as I used them to brush back the hair of a sleeping child. Over time, my hands have played a symphony of different instruments. They have seen a life that while rarely easy and sometimes harsh, was one that has been useful, has maybe made some difference.
I looked at my hands yesterday and saw age. They are still soft, but the smoothness is giving way to the ravages of time as my skin thins. I see wrinkles and I still see nails that rarely look feminine, rarely look pretty. But I also saw so much more. I saw hands that were used inÂ raising three children to adulthood and happy independent lives and are still being used to take care of three that aren’t grown yet.Â I saw hands that have tenderly and gently held the heads of so many tiny babies in them, that have stroked the faces of crying toddlers, have held the hand of angry young adults and have now begun the same cycle with my grandchildren. I saw hands that have been used to knead pain out of my husbands shoulders; something I couldn’t do as well with tiny dainty hands and short fingers. I saw hands that have held his face between them when he was in pain and comforted him with my touch. These hands of mine are so much more than just utilitarian. They are instruments given to me and yes they are also tools but tools that have done so much. These hands have been used in love and in anger, to give pleasure and to, unfortunately, at times, to give a miniscule measure of pain meant to help someone grow. They have been mistreated and not well cared for and have begun to get knobby looking at the knuckles as arthritis begins to ravage them, but they have always served me well. I use them every day to create food that gives my family nourishment and joy, to take care of four human beings that depend on me. They bathe a toddler, they hug two teenagers, they love a husband. They hold a phone while I talk to my other children who live far away now and they cuddle grandchildren. I see now that I have momma hands and that, because of that, they are indeed…beautiful.
Honey & Spice Blueberry Apricot Jam
This is a sweet yet tart jam that combines the flavors of the two fruits wonderfully. The predominant flavor is Blueberry and then you get the subtle taste of Apricots, honey and spice. I was loved how this turned out. It’s a small batch, only three half pints because when I’m making new jams, I prefer to start small just in case. But this could be easily doubled or tripled. Just expect a longer cooking time. As I’ve said before, I’m not going to try to teach full out canning techniques. There are web sites that can do that much better than I and here is one of the best of them.
Here is a good link to learn proper canning techniques. 🙂
- 1 lb fresh apricots, finely chopped (See step two)
- 1 pint fresh blueberries, crushed
- 1 cup good quality honey
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- Wash and sterilize 3 half pint canning jars. Keep ready in hot water while preparing the jam.
- For the apricots and blueberries- you can use a food processor to do the chopping, but don’t puree this. You want to leave some small bits and pieces.Â Just do a couple of short pulses.
- Combine the fruits, honey, sugar and spices in a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the lemon juice and stir well. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and cook the jam until it has thickened, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, about 35 to 45 minutes.
- Ladle the jam into the prepared jars, leaving a 1/4 inch head space. Wipe the rims of your jars well with a clean, hot damp washcloth. As I have said before, when it comes to canning, you HAVE to have everything scrupulously clean to prevent bacteria and germs from growing when the jars are stored.
- Process in a boiling water bath for ten minutes. Removed from canner (or plain old large pot in my case 😛 )and let sit until cool. Wipe down jars, label, then store in a cool dark place.
What beautiful words – and I’ll bet your hands looked gorgeous as you typed them.
Awww, thank you Elizabeth
You should be a hand model!! 😉
As always, great post, yummy recipe! 🙂
Lol. Thanks Kate 😛
I came running over here to read your jam recipe and was blown away with your very profound article. Wow… very touching and heartfelt. I really enjoyed reading it and I love the jam recipe. : )
Thank you 🙂
Such a sweet post! I know what you mean, my hands rarely feel pretty, unless I treat myself to a manicure but as a Mom that is a very rare occurrence. Thank you for sharing that with us! And I love this jam recipe… Looks amazing!
Thanks Kim! And yeah, that manicure thing doesn’t happen often here either lol; other priorities take over.
I loved this post. It’s funny, I never got into the whole “get-your-nails-done” crowd… I work too much with my hands to get involved in any of that. I would rather have “chef” hands (because I’m not a mother, yet, so I can’t really consider them “momma” hands) =)
Chef hands are good too…. still hands that work 🙂
*sniff* too much dust in the room…
You’re such a mushball
Beautiful hands! I always tell everyone that I have “cooks hands”. I think you do, too…and they are lovely!
You’re too sweet, Ann. <3
What a beautiful post! So touching.
The recipe sounds delicious too. I love finding new jam recipes.
Thanks Lynn! I hope you’ll try this then if you like new jams 🙂
I enjoyed reading your post re: hands…never thinking of putting “hands” into such perspective! I have working hands…obviously, now that I’m actually examining it…LOL long fingers, short nails, doesn’t show aging, which it should have after all these years of hard work.
Your hand is lovely, and smooth, does not show any spots, or thin skin, and especially not aging!!!
Love the jam and so nice of you to share the yummy recipe:DDD
Thanks Elisabeth 🙂 And the photo was just being kind to me 😛
I have never been more tempted by bread and jam with fresh apricots on the side 🙂 And the hands that made them are the most favorite hands of your kiddos, I’ll bet! Have a great weekend! cheers, priya
Thank you Priya 🙂
I love your hands! They’re gorgeous! I love this post. So heartfelt and true. And the recipe…YUM!
Awww, you’re too sweet Kate. Thank you 🙂
My hands have never been pretty either. But it is the things you are able accomplish with them that count! Your jam sounds absolutely delicious! I love this combination of apricots and blueberries!
Thanks Amy! 🙂 I hope you’ll give the jam a try
Your hands looks great. It’s difficult to have the perfect hands, unless you don’t do much. I try to moisturize my hands to keep them healthy looking. One trick that I picked up is… to put lots of lotion on your hands and then put on cotton gloves before bed. Hands feel extra smooth the next day.
Cool recipe by the way. I’ve never tried making my own jam before. I’ll have to give that a try some time. I’m currently experimenting with pickling and fermentation… so jam and canning is not too far away. heh.
I’ve done that many a time myself. Works great on feet too 🙂
I’d love to see you try the jam. If you can do pickling and fermenting you can do jam easily! 🙂
I don’t know what you’re talking about. I see awesome food making hands! 🙂 Great jam, thanks for sharing!
Thanks Parsley 😀
great sharing and nice color of the jam.
Thanks Nava 🙂
Oh, I loved this! Thank you so much for this beautiful essay! I’ll never forget my mother’s disappointment when she tried to pass on some rings, and not one came close to fitting. My hands are enormous. The jam looks super.
My mom was the same way. She had tiny cute little hands and mine are huge lol. My daughter in law, when she puts her hands near mine, make me feel like either she has the hands of a toddler or I have the hands of an amazon 😛
Well, hands do amazing job…..jam looks beautiful:)
Thank you Irena! 🙂
Aw, I love this post! When I look at my hands I see my mother’s hands as I saw them when I was growing up. She has always been such a hard worker but pretty hands do not run in our family. I’ve always wished for dainty pretty hands but now that I’m older that would equate not doing a darn thing all day long! Totally not what I want. 🙂
I can completely empathize 😀
Janet….I’ve been intrigued by your jams. They are wonderful. But I’ve yet to get into the whole canning thing! I think you have me inspired though! This looks so wonderful. On a little piece of brioche in the morning with my tea! Ahhhh….life is good! : )
Oh, I hope you make some Anne! It’s so cool to eat something you’ve canned yourself.