Summer in a jar

I always forget how fast fruit jams. One minute there’s a punnet of apricots, sitting lushly on the counter, then there’s a bubbling, foaming mass of fruit, and minutes later it’s jarred and ready to enjoy. I exaggerate, but not by much.

Apricot jam is the ultimate beginner recipe, an easy-set, easy-make concoction that tastes like summer. And unless you get prime-ripe apricots, apricot jam tastes better than apricot fruit. My only warning: apricot jam is also the only jam I managed to burn (one minute it was bubbling away, and the next it was sticking to the pan). I called it caramelized apricot jam and pretended it was deliberate, but I didn’t give any jars away either.

You can jazz it up too, with the jalapeno we timidly flirted with last year, or with a few apricot kernels for a bitter tang. On a brave day, I’d like to add herbs; thyme perhaps, or maybe rosemary or finely chopped sage. But this weekend we made plain, simple apricot jam, with five kernels to add an almondy tang. There’s some debate in the internet about the safety of apricot kernels, and some talk of using them as a miracle anti cancer drug, along with an equal number of articles saying how stupid that is. But I reckon 5 well-cooked apricot kernels in 10 jars of jam isn’t going to kill anyone. Canning buddy made sure none of her jars contained a kernel, for fear of choking a child.

It’s a pretty, pretty jam, made, like almost all the others this year, from a 3:2:1 ratio, in this case 9 generous cups coarsely chopped apricots, six skimpy cups sugar and the juice of two lemons. Heat until the sugar dissolves, boil hard until it sets (it will foam like mad at the start), pour into sterilized jars and water bath.

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Maybe next weekend I’ll go wild and try again with sage. Or is there another herb that will work better?

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1 Comment »

  1. meg said

    Looks great! I didn’t make any apricot preserves this year. I like the idea of adding some hot pepper, or sage like you mentioned.

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