Easy Apricot Jam

July 8, 2009 at 8:57 pm | Posted in jams & preserves, sweet things | 34 Comments

easy apricot jam

First I pickled…now I jam.  I think I’m really just looking for excuses to use these cute little French jars.  Actually, a recent comment from fellow blogger Joy of Hot Oven, Warm Heart, coupled with finding the cutest little soft apricots at the store the other day, had my one-track mind thinking about pretty much nothing but homemade jam. 

The first time I made my own jam was probably about five years ago.  I belonged to a CSA, and in the summer months I was taking home bags full of peaches, nectarines and plums each week.  Now that’s no hardship, but it was too much for two of us to possibly consume in a week’s time, so I decided to take up canning my own jam.  I bought a canning kit, a big pot, a bunch of Ball jars and a couple of books and went to town.  My kitchen that summer was like Mr. Wizard’s lab, with bubbling pots, thermometers, sterilized tongs…it was a lot of work, and I was giving away jam to anyone who would take it.

Since that summer, I haven’t been lucky enough to have abundance of stone fruits fall into my lap, so now I’m preserving the easy way, with less sugar and smaller quantities of fruit that yield just enough jam to be eaten up over the course of a couple weeks.  The smaller amount of fruit is much easier to work with; it’s also much easier to judge when your jam has gelled.  No need for pectin (which I don’t like working with anyway) or water bath processing…just store the finished jam in the refrigerator and use within two weeks.  I think that little Ball/Mason jars or French canning jars with rubber seals are downright adorable, but you can recycle store-bought jam jars or just use an airtight container for this type of preserving as well.

easy apricot jam

If you want, you can also infuse your jam with background flavors during cooking time.  A whole cinnamon stick or half a vanilla bean would be great additions to apricot jam.  I actually threw a fresh bay leaf into mine while it cooked down.  Sounds a little weird, but I remember a pastry chef at an old job poaching whole apricots in a syrup infused with fresh bay.  You hardly know it’s there, but it gives a very subtle savory backnote that plays nicely with the sweetness.  If you do something like this, just fish out whatever whole spice you’ve added before storing your jam, or the flavor may get too intense while it sits.

Your homemade jam will be the most delicious thing to ever hit your toast, crumpets, crêpes, or (OMG) your PB&J!  I haven’t had any consistency problems with this method (because it’s easy to test and correct), but if you ever make jam– whether it’s the easy way or the water bath-processed method– and it sets up loose, don’t throw it out.  Runny jam becomes such a perfect fruit sauce for ice cream, yogurt, pound cake, etc, that you can pretend you meant it to be that way!

Easy Apricot Jam– makes 2 1/2 cups
adapted from Cooks Illustrated (July/August 1998)

Note:  To prep your apricots, wash, peel (this is optional…personally, I like the skins and leave them on), halve and pit them.  Then slice them very thin.  You want to wind up with 1 pound of fruit after prepping. 

The jam will continue to thicken as it cools, so err on the side of undercooking. Because of its reduced sugar amounts, this jam cannot be canned.

1 pound prepared fruit, about 3 cups
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon

- Set a bowl over a larger bowl of ice water; set aside.

- In 10- or 12-inch skillet, bring fruit, sugar, and lemon juice to boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly and skimming foam as necessary, until mixture begins to look syrupy and thickens slightly, about 5 minutes; remove from heat. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon fruit mixture into bowl over ice water; allow to set for 30 seconds. Tip bowl 45 degrees to one side; jam should be a soft gel that moves slightly. If mixture is liquid and runs to side of bowl, return skillet to heat and cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes longer; then repeat test.  Save the ice bath to cool the finished product.

-Cool jam to room temperature (over the ice bath) before serving or transferring to a clean glass jar or airtight container (you can sterilized first with boiling water, if you are so inclined).  It will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to two weeks.

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34 Comments »

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  1. Perfect excuse for using the French jars, haha – looove apricot jam! :-)

  2. This looks so good….must find apricots….

  3. Isnt homemade jam the best!

  4. You have just brought back the most wonderful memories. As a little girl I had a great aunt and uncle (who had no children) and they were like a second set of grandparents. They always furnished our family with the most wonderful jams, preserves and jellies, chow chow and bread and butter pickles. I didn’t have store bought until they were unable to can. So amazing. Was I spoiled or what? Anyway a great trip down memory lane. Apricot is my favorite and your looks amazing. I hope you enjoy. Yum Yum Yum
    AmyRuth

    • Apricot is my favorite, too (well, tied with plum)! Thanks for sharing you memories…definitely spoiled, but in the good way!

  5. I don’t pickle or jam either but now you are inspiring me!

  6. I have always used honey (and half what it calls for) and one apple (for the pectin) to make jam. Works amazingly well and cuts down on the sugar. Only problem I have found is that the fruit looses its beautiful vibrant colours!

  7. That’s a beautifully orange jam!

  8. You really have inspired me with this post. I’ve never made jam before and, although I’d like to try canning kit method, I think I’ll start with this recipe. I’m not the biggest fan of apricots but my boyfriend is. I think I’ll make him a little surprise!

    • I also have never made jam or even canned, pickeled etc… this will be a first for me .Thanks for your insperation, i was given a large box of aprcots and was wondering what to do with them , I will be jammin them lol thanks again and wish me luck :)

  9. Oh it sounds yummy. I love apricots.

  10. YUM! I just made some apricot jam for the Daring Baker’s Bakewell Tarts! I couldn’t keep my fingers out of it! Thanks for the link to your canning kit. I really want to get more into that.

  11. this is so great! i thought jam recipes always contained pectin, but this is much easier! i’m sure this recipe would work with other fruits, yes?

    • Yes, it will work with other fruits…although some require more sugar. Click on the link to the Cook’s artlice I provided, and you will see more info from them.

  12. I love apricot jam! And I love those jars! Where’d you find them?

    • I bought the jars at the Container Store here in NYC. Amazon sells them, too, both single jars and in sets…do a search for “Le Parfait jars” and you will find them.

  13. Thanks for the tips… I love apricots, just not fresh… cause you never know if they’re going to be sweet, bitter, juicy, grainy… in jam, you can’t go wrong, they’ll be wonderful!

  14. I really like the idea of infusing this jam with cinnamon. Sounds (and looks) delicious.

  15. If I had those adorable jars, it would be any excuse. And I’m totally jealous of your summer of stone fruit! I had a similar time last summer when I worked at the co-op and regularly took armfuls of leftover reduced-price fruit home …except that when I say similar I mean obviously that your experience kicked my experience’s arse, haha. The point is! this looks amazing.

  16. I haven’t made jam for so long. I really should make it more. It tastes sooo much better than store bought!

  17. Hi Steph!

    Thanks so much for the shout out! It was such a lovely surprise, and I must say, I’m so pleased that I inspired you to whip up some homemade jam. And OH MY, it looks absolutely delectable. I definitely want to give it a try, and will be on the look out for some beautiful fresh apricots. Along with this recipe, I’d also like to try some that utilize the canning process so I can increase the shelf life. I can only imagine how much fresh jam will elevate some of my favorite desserts- I’m going to be making jam thumbprints (once I can nail down the perfect recipe- I’m certainly up for suggestions if you have a go-to version- please let me know!) for a dear friend’s wedding shower in September, and apricot jam just happens to be her favorite. I bet homemade jam would also be great in the rugelach I make during the holidays. Oh the possibilities!

    I’ll keep you updated once I give this version a try- thank you so much for sharing, as always :) Hope you’re doing well, and I’ll talk to you soon!

    -Joy

    • You know what? I’ve never made thumb-prints before! I know Dorie has a recipe in her book, and I’ve seen Ina Garten make them on TV, too. But I’me sure there are a thousand great recipes for thumbprints, and you will find one your friend will love!

      You did inspire me to make jam…the apricot’s almost gone, so I’m thinking of peach or nectarine next!

  18. Just got done picking a BUNCH of apricots from a friend’s old, old tree and since they are not sprayed or pampered they are on the small side. I decided instead of cramping my hand up slicing them- to just scoop the pulp out with a teaspoon and then slice it up- I just finished my first batch from this recipe and while it is a bit on the chunky side- OH! Heaven on sourdough toast! And so quick to make- thanks for the recipe!

  19. Just made a batch. Awesome recipe and best of all EASY,EASY, EASY. I don’t even think it will last two weeks in the fridge.

    Thanks so much.

  20. I’m in a CSA this summer. Just got a big bag of delicious apricots and wanted to make jam. Came across this recipe and just tried it, with cinnamon. It’s cooling now, but looks and smells delicious. Thanks!

    • Thanks for trying it out…sounds like it will be wonderful! I’m in a CSA, too, and am hoping we get apricots so I can do some more jamming myself.

  21. Can I substiture other fruits for the Apricots? I have blueberries and would like to use them for jam.

  22. Can this jam be frozen?

    • I haven’t tried, but at work we make large batches of no-pectin jam to use in pastry applications and freeze them successfully, so I don’t see why not.

  23. Could you hot water process the jars if you want to store the jam for longer, or would that wreck it?

    • I didn’t try because it made such a small amount that I didn’t need to, but I don’t see why not.

  24. Just finished making this recipe. Added a little vanilla and a splash of Grand Manier. It is delicious. The jam has not even cooled yet, and is disappearing fast. Tasted fabulous on a bowl of non-sodium cottage cheese for lunch. Thank you.

    • Thanks for writing! So glad you liked it, and your flavoring additions sound divine.


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