When I saw Merriberry's beautiful apricot tree budding with gorgeous blush-hued fruit, I knew just what I wanted to do: JAM IT! This would be my first time attempting such an arduous-sounding project, and arduous it would indeed end up being. All in all however, it was well worth all the spills, burns and bottling disasters!
I'm gonna write my apricot jam adventure in various posts- I went through so many different recipes, all which were so long and intimidating-sounding that it took me a couple days to toughen up and start the jamming session. Let's not do that here.
So let's get started! This is all well worth the hard work, I promise. Just make sure that you set aside an entire afternoon OR do what I did and plan on about four hours over two days.
As I said, I went through multiple apricot jam recipes, and although I took a few tips from here or there, I mostly went with this one by a guy named Jens. It's a recipe that has been in his family for generations, and it seemed easy enough, even without any pictures to go with the instructions. Also, I just liked the his webpage- it's welcoming.
So I went over to Christi's and came back with a huge bag of apricots. Jens says to use under-ripe apricots, although another recipe said to use super ripe ones. I used both- some were still yellow, others were bruised and browning. That's the great thing about jamming, you can use the fruit that is too expired to eat fresh (as long as it's not molding).
I washed about 2-3 pounds of the apricots. Jens' recipe calls for fresh lemon juice and sugar. That's it! No pectin in this recipe! Make sure you also have your glass jars too- I'll go over sterilizing them in the next post.
With Jens' recipe, for ever one cup of apricots (depitted- but keep the pits for later!)...
...gets 3/4 cup sugar...
...and 1.5 teaspoon of lemon juice...
All my apricots amounted to about ten or so cups of apricots. I nearly used the entire bag of sugar!!! Some recipes called for less sugar, although Jens says to not skimp on this. Looking back, this may depend on the ripeness of your fruit, or how sweet you would like the jam to be for your personal liking.
Mix this around until the sugar, apricots and lemon are all evenly distributed. Make sure you use a big enough pot too- as you can see above, I vainly tried to fit all the fruit into my Le Crueset. Fail!!
Some recipes I saw said to take this out and put in a bowl- but considering that it's gotta go back in here to stew it all, that sounds tedious. Jens says to put this aside for at least two hours. I had to run to work and saw in another recipe that it can stay overnight in the fridge, so I did that.
Next up, I'll sterilize the bottles!