Saturday, July 7, 2012

Apricot Jam

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Apricot jam
Apricot jam

I am wild about apricots.  I let my love of them get in the way of thinking through just how many come in a case box when at the farmer's market, so I am now the proud owner of 25 lbs. of apricots.  Oh my.

This recipe for jam is going to be for a semi-large batch but you can easily trim it down to fit your own spur-of-the-moment shopping.  My rule of thumb is for every 1 lb. of apricots, use 1 1/2 cups of sugar.  This is a softer set jam due to using less sugar than many recipes call for but I prefer the intensely apricot flavor and my family does not miss the sweet at all.  Feel free to adjust to your own personal tastes - you really can't mess up apricots, sugar, and water.  How easy is that.

Look for a few more apricot posts shortly as I work through the case, if I can get to them before Bel does.  She ate 9 apricots yesterday and has plans for just as many today.  I think that is what I find so satisfying about jamming and canning, I know come November she will be thrilled to have that summer taste on her breakfast toast.  If you are unsure about trying your hand at jam making for yourself I hope you test this recipe.  You will be really happy with the results and surprised at how easy it is to make great tasting jam.




Apricot Jam
Capture summer freshness in your homemade jam. You will be very happy come the winter months when you open a jar of this apricot jam.
Ingredients
  • 6 lbs. apricots, sliced in half, stem and seed removed
  • 9 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
Instructions

  1. Prepare your half pint jars, lids, rings and canner. If you are new to water bath canning, or it has been a while, be sure to refresh your skills from a reliable and official source to guide you through this process. The National Center for Home Food Preservation and the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving are good places to start.
  2. In a heavy bottom very large pot add the apricots, water and sugar and bring up to a gentle boil. At first stirring this will be challenging until the apricots start to break down but be persistent.  The apricots will release a little to a lot of juice depending on the fruit and it will take some time for this mixture to simmer and cook down to a jam consistency. How long will vary depending on the size of your pot and the juiciness of your fruit, 60-75 minutes. Stir often to be sure nothing scorches and be patient, it will get there.
  3. Once you think the jam is thick enough, test it on a small very cold plate (I chill mine in the freezer for a few minutes). You put a dab of the jam on the ice cold plate and let it sit there until it is cooled. Run your finger through the bit of jam to see if it holds the shape of your streak and crinkles a little on top. If you need to just keep simmering and stirring until you have the consistency you want.
  4. Carefully fill your hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Be sure to remove any bubbles with a thin spatula, chopstock, or skewer and adjust the headspace one last time.
  5. Clean the rim of the jar thoroughly, apply your hot lid, and then the ring. Tighten the ring just until it is "finger tip tight", not too tight, but not loose either.
  6. Process your jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes, measuring the time after the water returns to a full boil. Adjust your processing time as necessary depending on your elevation.
  7. Remove your jars from the water bath to a cloth covered counter. Let them cool completely for 12-24 hours before testing the seals. Any jars that do not seal properly are still perfectly good to eat, just keep them in the refrigerator.
  8. Store your jam in a cool dark place. This jam is ready to eat immediately, no wait time necessary.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 15 half pints, 7 pints and some leftover

Last, but not least, if you are brand new to water bath canning be sure to follow best practices outlined by reliable sites such as the National Center for Home Food Preservation or the University of Missouri Extension. Home canning is something anyone can do!