If you have never made jam before, please know it does not need to be an all day, sweat on the brow adventure, unless of course you want to impress the family. Five or six jars can easily be whipped up in under an hour and will bring lots of satisfaction and appreciation as the months go by. This is a traditional cooked jam recipe but since you are dipping your toe in the water, know that there are also cooked and uncooked freezer jams as options. It is a question of time, volume of sugar, storage location and shelf life.
If “putting things up” is part of your summer and fall routine then you probably already have a couple of variations/additions in mind such as pineapple or lime, ginger and tequila or vanilla and Earl Grey tea. With the basics in place the fun can begin.
In addition to toast and scones, apricot jam can be used between cake layers and heated/thinned for a glaze on fruit tarts, used as an ingredient for pork or chicken glaze and salad dressings or given as hostess and Yule gifts. So it is always nice to have a couple of jars on the back shelf.
In China, one of the two places in contention for original home of the apricot ( the other being Armenia ), the Apricot Forest is a tale about best practices in days gone by. The story is that a very skillful doctor who asked his patients to plant apricot trees instead of giving payment for his services. Over the years an entire forest was established with birds and animals, even a tiger. Each year when the apricots were ripe, anyone could come and collect fresh apricots from the warehouse. They just needed to leave behind an equal weight of rice. If someone was greedy and took too many or outright stole the apricots, the tiger would ensure the accounts were balanced by chasing the people until they dropped enough apricots to even out the deal or they returned what had been stolen. Once balance was achieved the tiger would leave the cheaters alone. The rice was shared with those in need. Today, medical professionals are sometimes thought of as members of the Apricot Forest.
Armeniaca, the tree of Armenia, was the name given to apricots by the Romans while in Persia they were called the seeds of the sun. Confusious was said to have developed and taught his philosophy under an apricot tree.
You will need:
3 1/2 cups prepared fruit ( about 2 1/2 pounds of ripe apricots )
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
5 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. butter
1 pouch CERTO Fruit Pectin
A little information to begin. Pectin is the ingredient required to help set the jam and although most fruits have some acid, the sweeter and riper ones have less so some recipes call for added lemon juice to achieve a firmer set. If you would like a fuller explanation try this. Jennifer explains the tumultuous relationship between water, sugar and pectin in terms we call all understand, a local dance.
Once you are feeling more confident and want to step beyond just following the directions, you could try making and using your own homemade pectin.
So in several easy steps, here is basic apricot jam.
Begin by letting go of all the nigglies that may be part of your day. The thought that take you away from benig in the present moment. Take several deep breaths to help focus your intention. Find gratitude for the bounty of the harvest that has come to your way and begin.
Wash your fruit and take the pits out of the apricots. Cut away any imperfections. If you would like a chunkier finished product, chop and measure. I ran the fruit through a blender, plusing two or three times as I was looking for something closer to jelly in the finished product. I also reduced the 3 1/2 cups to 3 1/4 because there were absolutely no air spaces left once the fruit was through the blender. Put into a large pot. Remember that your mixture will rise up considerably when bubbling so it will need room to grow.
Add to the apricots.
Measure sugar and add to the apricots.
Measure butter and add to the apricots.
I am stressing the measuring because jam making is at least one part science and popping in or leaving out an extra 1/4 cup of something will effect the set.
Bring the mixture to a full boil over high heat, stirring constantly.
A full boil is defined as one that can not stirred away.
Add the pection while stirring and return to a boil for one full minute.
Take the pot off the heat and stir a bit to help settle the mixture.
Remove any foam from the top by skimming with a spoon. Many say that metal works best. My experience with adding butter to this style of jam is that a wooden spoon will also do the job.
Bottle and allow to cool. If more information on bottling would be helpful check out this post for Raspberry Jelly. It can take up to 24 hours for the jam to set. Have patience.
This is my favourite jam jar. The only problem is you can not actually see the jam, so I set it in front of all that beautiful colour. I highly recommend serving your preserves in a container that gives it the respect it deserves.
Apricot Jam from My Kitchen Wand