We conclude this apricot week extravaganza with apricot jam, two different varieties to be precise. But this isn’t any ordinary apricot jam, this is our FIRST jam. Our very first attempt at canning.
In recent months I’ve become obsessed with canning. The same way I got obsessed over the prospect of fresh apricots and cherries (which, to be honest, was probably more a result of the canning obsession than anything else). Needless to say, it’s been on my mind. I’ve bought books. Tools. Read any article I can find on the subject.
Canning is something I’ve never even considered trying before now. I don’t know why. I don’t know what brought it on, but I can definitely see a new-found love for this retro art taking over my summer. If I’m not careful I could see myself going way overboard. Two people can only eat so much jam, and I have to remember that before purchasing bushels of fruit.
This jam, or pair of jams, was our first attempt. After thoroughly reading up on the subject, and participating in a canning home-party at Beth’s (we had a flip chart!) I felt prepared enough to give it a go. Sure, it makes me nervous. The sheer mention of the word botulism is enough to send Taylor into a tizzy. What if I do something wrong? What if it spoils? How do I KNOW if I’ve done something wrong?
For as much thought and worry that went into it, canning, especially jam, is surprisingly easy. Almost TOO easy (another reason to be nervous). It was smart to start with jam. The result was a half dozen magically sealed jars of apricot goodness. It’s the least I can do not to break open the jars and dig in. I keep telling myself I’m going to appreciate this when fresh fruit isn’t in season, and to save it. That may be the hardest part of the whole canning process.
I split up our precious apricots into two batches of jam, Apricot Riesling Jam, and Silky Amaretto Apricot Butter. Two textures. Two booze-infused flavors. The Amaretto butter recipe is below. If you are interested, you can find the Apricot Riesling jam recipe over on Simply Recipes. I made half the recipe and got about one pint from it, or four of those precious little 4oz jars. It’s a keeper, for sure!
Makes about 6 half-pint jars. Adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.
2 lb apricots, halved and pitted (about 24 medium), 6 pits reserved
1/2 cup water
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon amaretto
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roast the cleaned and dried pits on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes. Carefully crack pits with a hammer (a concrete surface is best here), and extract the kernel. Return kernels to the oven and roast for a 5 minutes more. Set aside.
In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine apricots and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until apricots are soft, about 20 minutes.
Working in batches, transfer apricot mixture to a food mill or a food processor fitted with a metal blade and purée just until a uniform texture is achieved. Do not liquefy. Measure 6 cups of apricot purée.
In a clean large stainless steel saucepan, combine purée and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens and holds its shape on a spoon. Stir in lemon juice and amaretto.
Meanwhile, prepare canner, jars, and lids.
Place one apricot kernel in the bottom of each jar. Ladle hot butter into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding more hot butter. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool, and store.