Sunday, August 31, 2008

Apricot Jam


If you've never made jam before, this is a great novice recipe to begin learning with. For one thing: you don't need any pectin! Just a little time over a pot of fragrant boiling apricots. I've included some fun and handy tips in the recipe to help you. I hope you enjoy making (and eating!) this as much as I do.

Ingredients:

Apricots, firm and slightly under-ripe if possible (about 1 1/2 cups of cut-up apricots per 8 oz jar of jam)sugar (3/4 cup per 1 cup of apricots)Several lemons (1 1/2 tsp. juice per 1 cup apricots)

Preparation:

Prepare enough jars, lids, and lid rings for the amount of apricots you have to can. Always toss in an extra jar, lid, and ring for good measure (you never know when you end up with a little more than expected). You can prepare them either by putting them through the dishwasher on a santizing cycle, or you can place them in boiling water in your hot water bath canner for at least 10 minutes. Which brings me to another point: get the hot water bath boiling! This usually takes quite awhile, and you want to be able to can as soon as your jam is ready.

Cut the apricots in half and put them in a large non-aluminum cooking pot. Set aside the pits for later. For each cup of apricots, add 3/4 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice.
Let the mixture stand at least two hours. The first time I did this, I actually left it over night so I could do my canning first thing in the morning.

Bring the apricots to a boil over high heat. At first you’ll just need to stir occasionally to keep it from scorching, then as it comes to a boil you’ll need to stir continuously. Once it’s at a steady boil, set a timer for 25 minutes and keep stirring… As you stir, skim the foam off the top. You can toss it, but I have a better idea: Put the foam in a quart jar and let it settle, it turns into apricot syrup. Keep it in the fridge, and enjoy over pancakes (like we do) or ice cream.

When the timer goes off, take a look at the mixture. If it still seems liquidy, let it boil another five minutes (but no more). The goal is to have reduced the volume by about half, and for what’s left to be fairly thick. When it’s ready, turn off the heat.

Ladle jam into jar leaving 1/4'' headspace. Put a lid on top, then screw a ring over to finger tightness. (You don't have to grab the jar to tighten the ring--after all, the jar should be hot from just being sterilized. You can tighten the rings later, after the lids have "popped".) Process in the hot water bath for 10 minutes. Remove the jars and set on the counter. Enjoy listening to the satisfying "ping!" of the jars as they seal. Count, and make sure that each of the jars has "popped." If any haven't within 15 minutes, they're probably not sealed properly. Don't fret, just put them in the fridge and eat them as soon as possible. (You were dying to break open a jar and try it, anyway, weren't you?)

Tighten the sealed jars’ rings some more, and label them with the type of jam and the date. In a reasonably cool place, such as a basement they’ll keep for at least 2 years. Before you open a jar for the first time, press on the lid to make sure it’s still sealed. If you can pop the lid down, or if you can pull it off without a fair amount of force, it’s lost its seal and you should throw the jam away.

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I also wanted to share some exciting canning news: While going to buy a gallon of apple cider from a local mill yesterday, I discovered a box of plums by the register: 60 cents a pound! I gathered up three pounds (there were only about five in the box) and went home to can four pint jars of plum jam, a special treat that I plan to serve with scones this winter.

2 comments:

  1. Oh, I love apricot jam. And plum jam. And all sorts of jam. Can't wait to gather enough jars, find some non-expensive produce, and get to jam-making!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anna- That's true...in Israel, you've probably still got time. Here in the Northern US, we're almost to the end of jam season, as it's starting to get cooler again.
    ~Bethany

    ReplyDelete

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