Recently, I posted a recipe for apricot chicken, and I was reminded just how much I love everything apricot, especially apricot jam!
I vaguely remember that my mom used to make apricot jam using dried apricots, and it makes a lot of sense because they make it possible to make apricot jam any day of the year.
I could picture the handwritten recipe in her careful old handwriting. My mom grew up in Iceland and was taught penmanship and English at a very young age. Mom wrote slowly and deliberately, even when she signed a check.
I didn't know where to start looking, and I confess my recipes are in terrible disarray. After a prayerful search, I finally found it. Here's what it looks like, and that's the pen my dad gave her in about 1966, shortly before he died. She always kept the pen in her billfold, and now that she's in a nursing home, I take care of it for her.
This tangy jam is good for so many things! It's the perfect filling for thumbprint cookies, kolaches, and shortbread bars in baking! For cooking, thin it with orange juice or water, making a beautiful glaze for chicken, ham, or pork! It's even great on ice cream!
Apricot pairs well with chocolate, cranberries, and many kinds of cheese, especially hard, salty cheeses like Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, and Grana Padano. Be sure to put a bowl of the golden yellow jam on your charcuterie board to enjoy with cheeses, salami, and ham.
You say you like to keep it simple? Try this! Nothing beats a peanut butter sandwich on grainy wheat bread with apricot jam! Elevate the common PBJ to clearly gourmet!
Start with two pounds of dried apricots. You can usually find them in the grocery aisle near raisins, prunes, and dates. I absolutely love snacking on dried apricots or chopping them and adding them to yogurt!
You will start by rehydrating the apricots by putting them in a pan that holds at least two and one-half quarts with enough water to cover the fruit. I used my large LeCreuset Dutch oven. Let them sit overnight; you'll be surprised how plump they become!
Next, put that pot of plumped-up apricots on the stove and bring them to a boil, then let them stand for about an hour or more. This step will make them even more tender and ready to turn into apricot jam!
Now, work in batches to mash the apricots along with some of the water. The easiest and fastest way to do this is in a food processor. Leave them a little chunky unless you prefer a really smooth jam.
Measure five to six cups of the apricot puree and put it in a big pot to cook the jam. Meanwhile, put a large, deep pot of water on to boil for your boiling water bath. Measure out and set aside seven cups of sugar (yes, really).
Add a package of powdered pectin, four tablespoons of lemon juice, and a pat of butter. You only need about a teaspoon. This reduces the amount of foam that will form on the jam.
Cook this mixture over medium-high heat until it boils, then all the sugar at once, and keep stirring until the mixture reaches a rolling boil that you can't stir down. When that happens, keep cooking for exactly one minute. Set a timer.
Remove the jam from the heat and put it on a cooling rack. Ladle the jam into half-pint jars, leaving one-half inch of headspace. Carefully wipe the rim of the jar with a clean, damp dishcloth. Put the lid on and hand-tighten the ring.
Put the jars into a boiling water bath for ten minutes. Ensure the water covers the top of the jars by at least an inch. Carefully remove the jars and set them on a rack or a thickly folded towel. Let them sit without touching them until you hear the "ping" sound, meaning they have sealed.
You will be rewarded with eight to nine half-pints of glorious golden apricot jam to use in any way you like! Properly sealed, the jam will be safe to eat when stored at room temperature for a year or longer.
I love making jam as my mom taught me. Both of these posts have a lot of helpful tips and talk about the tools that make it easy to make jam and jelly! I hope you try all three recipes! Peach Jam and Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, a post that is particularly helpful for beginners!
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