Apricot Jam (3 intriguing ways!)

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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!

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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!

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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!

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Apricot Jam

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.

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apricot jam with cream cheese on crackers (clockwise: apricot-rye whiskey, chipotle-apricot, sweet basil-apricot)

Variations:

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.

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Apricot Rosemary Jam

Today is apricot rosemary jam day.

I made this jam last year and loved the herbal notes that the rosemary adds to the flavor.  It is wonderful over a bit of goat cheese or as a marinade for chicken.  Unfortunately for me, I made only enough to pass along for gifts and didn’t remember to keep even one jar for our house!  This past Sunday I bought 22 pounds of apricots from our local farmer’s market to make sure I made enough!  I am excited to report that the rosemary that I am using this year comes from our little garden.

   

The recipe I am using is inspired by a post from Food in Jars:(http://www.foodinjars.com/2011/07/urban-preserving-apricot-rosemary-jam/)

One of the reasons I like it is that it is very easy.  I am a bit of a lazy preserver, in that I don’t really relish the idea of extra work (as in, taking the skin off of fruit).  With apricots, all you need to do is pull them apart, take out the pit and you are good to go.  The other reason I like this recipe is that it is quick.  I made six batches (24 half pints) in about 3 hours, which is exactly how long I had since preschool camp this week is from 9:00am – noon.

      

The cherubs are on their way home, so quickly here is the recipe if you feel inspired:

Apricot Rosemary Jam (makes 4 half pints)

4 cups apricots (halved and pitted)

2 cups sugar

3 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary (or omit for traditional apricot jam)

4 tablespoons lemon juice

Mash apricots, not necessary for them to all be the same size.  Place apricots, sugar, and rosemary in a non-reactive pot and bring to a boil.  Cook for about 10 minutes, until fruit thickens and runs slowly and thickly off back of spoon.  Add lemon juice.  Stir to combine.  Remove pot from heat.

Ladle jam into four half pint jars.  Wipe rims of jars with wet paper towel, apply lids and rings and process in your boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

Remove jars from pot.  Let cool.  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.

Enjoy!

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