So, (surprise, surprise) things don’t seem to be slowing down around here! Despite the fact it is summer, we just seem to have more things we want to see, do, and eat! We were at the farmer’s market last Sunday and I noticed that apricots are in season. For some reason I thought it would be later! Well, the guy said it was time, so we bought 25 pounds of apricots. As I look back at the blog though, this is the exact same time as last year. I posted Apricot Rosemary Jam on July 25th, so I guess we are right on schedule! Between the time we bought them and when we made the jam, we ate a whole lot of apricots and also took out the pits… and were left with approximately 12 pounds of apricots. So, we made four small batches of jam!
As pleased as I was with the interesting herbal quality of the Apricot Rosemary Jam, I wanted to try something new this year. One of my other favorites from last year was the Heirloom Tomato Basil Jam, but I didn’t love how long that recipe took to make. So, this year, I decided to try Apricot-Basil Jam to try to get the best of both worlds. As I mentioned in last year’s post, apricot jam is one of my favorites because it retains so much brightness in the flavor. It is also very, very easy. The prep is simple and quick and those are all important elements for those of us who enjoy preserving, but don’t have loads of time. This is a fruit worth preserving!
I also happened upon a great magazine this summer that I want to share with you. Better Homes and Gardens produces some Special Interest Publications that seem to be seasonal in nature. I saw that this year they have a Canning: preserving, freezing, drying edition of their magazine this summer (supposed to be displayed until September 9th and is $9.99). It is a great guide to the basics of preserving. The magazine is affordable and contains so much great information as well as both traditional and innovative recipes. If you are curious about preserving food and want to learn more, but don’t feel like buying a bunch of books, this would be a great first step in learning more! As I was flipping through the magazine I saw that they created some fantastic variations to try. They were making peach jam and some of their variations were quite nice: cardamom-peach, sweet basil-peach, bourbon-peach, and chipotle-peach – intriguing, no? Based on their great ideas, I decided to follow their example and try some of these variations for our apricot jams.
Without further ado, Apricot Jam 2013!
yield: makes 7 half pints
6 cups (3 lbs) apricots (halved and pitted)
6 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Mash apricots, not necessary for them to all be the same size. Place apricots, water, and sugar in a non-reactive pot and bring to a boil. Stir fruit mixture regularly. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, until fruit thickens and runs slowly and thickly off back of spoon. Remove pot from heat.
Ladle jam into half-pint jars. Wipe rims of jars with wet paper towel, apply lids and rings and process in your boiling water canner for 5 minutes.
Remove jars from pot. Let cool. After about 20 minutes, turn jars upside-down to disperse fruit. When jars are cool enough to handle, test seals. If seals are good, store jars in a cool, dark place. If any of the jars did not seal, place those jars in the fridge and use within a month or two.
Sweet Basil-Apricot Jam: Prepare as directed, except stir in 1 cup chopped fresh basil after skimming off foam.
Apricot-Rye Whiskey Jam: Prepare as directed, except stir in 1/2 cup whiskey with the sugar, apricots, lemon juice and water.
Chipotle-Apricot Jam: Prepare as directed, except stir in 2 tablespoons of finely chopped chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce with the sugar, apricots, lemon juice and water.