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Apricot Jam Prep

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With three young children to look after, I often don’t have the time to make a batch of jam start to finish,  so for the last two years, I have made jam in stages.   Today was prep day for Apricot-Orange Jam – recipe at the end.  (The girls were nabbing and eating apricots off the counter the whole time!)

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Apricots are so tender and can turn so quickly, I like to process them as soon as I get them home.  (If it must wait until the next morning, I lay them out in a single later on a clean kitchen towel, with all of the bruised or nicked ones to one side (afterall, these are still perfectly good for jam after the soft spots are discarded).)

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First, enough fruit is washed and chopped to equal 8 cups  (a few “less ripe” apricots are added in because they contain more pectin, and this old-fashioned jam uses only the natural pectin in the fruit.)  and put in a freezer zipper-bag.  Then, the orange zest (I always zest with a microplane – I can’t stand big, bitter chunks of zest in my jam!), freshly-squeezed orange and lemon juices, are added to the bag.  The bag is then gently mushed a bit to distribute the juice (this keeps the fruit from browning).

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All included ingredients – and the amount of sugar and pectin (if any) needed to make the batch of jam – are written on the bag, as are a few notes to remind me approximately how long to cook that batch before it sets up, etc.  Then, the bag goes in the freezer until I have time to make the jam – hopefully later this week!

Larksong’s Natural Apricot-Orange Jam

8 cups washed, chopped apricots

Zest of 1 large orange or two small juice oranges (zested with a microplane)

1/3 cup of freshly-squeezed orange juice

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

6 cups granulated sugar

Directions (this excludes the canner prep and jar sterilization, which must occur simultaneously) :

1.  Combine all ingredients except sugar ( that means everything that was frozen in the zipper bag) in a large, heavy-bottomed pan (I use my All-Clad).  Mash and cook on medium until apricots begin to steam and break down.  (At this point, depending on your preference, you could run the fruit pulp through a food-mill to remove the skins.  I think they are delicate enough to break down fine, and often keep them in.)

2.  Add sugar, and bring mixture to a boil.  Boil, stirring and scraping down sides,  for approx 25-30 minutes (candy thermometer should read 220 F), or until jam reaches the setting point (put some on a spoon, and set it in the fridge for a minute to see if it has set).

3.  Fill 9 to 11  one-half pint jars leaving 1/4-inch headspace, add lids and rings, and process in a rolling water bath for 5 min.  Store in a dark place, or jam may darken over time.

4.  Enjoy (I especially like it on a toasted English muffin with ricotta cheese)!

(If I can get the time, and find some more beautiful apricots, I hope to make and post the recipes for Apricot Brandy, Brandied-Apricot Jam, and Apricot-Lime Jam as well.)

P.S. -I am always up for a canning party.  Any Portlanders or Vancouverites, you are welcome bring your fruit and jars and we can make some serious batches of jam and salsa and enjoy each others’ company!

7 Responses to "Apricot Jam Prep"

  • Oh, a canning party would almost tempt me to make the drive down there to meet you. I don’t know how to can, except for some freezer jam I made in the past. But it’s one of those things I’d really like to learn.

  • Oh, this is fabulous!!
    What a great idea to make jam in stages. Your pictures are so gorgeous, they leave me wanting some apricot jam right now!!
    I make peach salsa on the grill, and I have made freezer jam, I so want to learn how to can!!

  • Where did you get your apricots? I would love to do a canning party with you sometime. I may even be able to arrange for us to can at church so that we don’t heat up the house. I am Suzanne Birch’s niece and I was firecracker’s Friday school teacher.

  • Thanks, Chris! I loved your lacto-fermented sauerkraut demo at the permaculture get-together. Your culinary skills are such an inspiration!!

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