California apricots

It’s shaping up to be a miserable season for Ontario fruit, after a glorious early spring (think bike rides in shorts in March), followed by a cold snap just as the fruit trees were in full flower. Vendors at the farmers markets say there are scores of farms where cherries and plums are more or less a write-off, and there may not be many peaches or nectarines around either. Apples and pears did better, but I’m not so worried about those. It’s the peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots that I want to turn to jams and chutneys.

So I  pretended I wasn’t looking as I picked up a giant plastic clam-shell pack of California apricots at Costco this weekend. They were tasteless and underripe, as you would expect from fruit that’s been flown across the continent. But underripe fruit often makes better jam, so I decided to give it a go, with a small batch just to try things out.

Here’s the easy 4:3:2 recipe, with the addition of a few overripe raspberries to enhance the look and the taste

Apricot jam with raspberries
(makes 3-1/2 jars)

4 cups apricots, cut in chunks
3 cups sugar
juice of 2 lemons
a handful of raspberries

Mix apricots, sugar and lemons and let it macerate for a few hours so the sugar draws out the juices from the fruits. Then add the raspberries and heat gently until the last of the sugar is dissolved (this does not take long). Bring to a rolling boil and boil until it sets (which also does not take long). Bottle in sterlized jars. Water bath for 10 minutes.

The result: a glorious red jam, with orange chunks of apricots floating in the syrup. It is thick enough to spread on bread or toast, in contrast to two batches of rhubarb/apple/ginger, which are more a mix-in-yogurt type of jam.

It tastes lovely — almost tart, and mostly apricot.

And the best thing: the glorious smell of raspberry that wafted through the whole house as I cooked.

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1 Comment »

  1. Karenmca said

    I can almost smell and taste this jam from Scotland, Janet! Yum, indeed!

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