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!
Silky Amaretto Apricot Butter
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.
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While there are very few varieties of apricot kernels that can be eaten, most contain a substance called amygdalin which is converted into cyanide in the stomach. If you don’t know what kind of apricots you have, be careful.
Why did you put an apricot kernel in the bottom of each jar? I’ve not seen that done before.
So how fun is canning? I did peach jam last year when I tried my first attempt, and it was SO FUN to open a jar of peach jam in the middle of winter! This year I did pickled beets and italian zucchini pickles. If you haven’t checked out the book “Put em Up”, I would highly recommend it!
I just stumbled upon your blog and I am in love! Your photograhy is stunning!
I love the colors of these! And the fact that they both involve alcohol :) YUM on all counts!!
I, too, have had an ever increasing interest in canning. I just bought mason jars last Wed at Kroger but in all honesty, I bet I just fill them with pesto as I like the look. But, your post has me thinking that perhaps I should step outside the box a bit more than just using the mason jars b/c they are nostalgic and I like the look:-) Thanks!
I just did my first canning projects this weekend: italian spiced tomatoes and mango raspberry jam. I’ll definitely have to try these recipes because I, too, have become a bit obsessed!
Wow… You are amazing…
sooo glad you are loving your cotsl
Why do you put the pit kernal in the jar with the jam? I haven’t heard of this strategy before and am now curious!
The have a lovely almond flavor (in fact, I heard that they use apricot pits, not almonds, to make almond extract!) and adding one to the jam should give it a hind of almond flavor. Careful, though – the pits can be toxic in large quantities, but a pit or two in each jar is fine. :)
This must have been the weekend for canning! I made fig preserves Saturday, first time canning anything.
I tried fresh figs for the first time last summer, and LOVED them.
I came across a recipe for carrot jam. What could that possibly be used for?
Great job! Amazing flavors! I thought of that myself, how I would want to open the jars right away, but that’s not the point of canning!
Well, my plan for canning the Peach Butter yesterday didn’t really go as expected. I went to get all of the peaches out of the box that my boss gave me and more than half of them had gone bad in just 2 days!! :-(
Soooo, I didn’t really have enough to make it worth canning… Instead I made a peach crisp :-)
Charmaine & I have already set a date in 2 weeks to can like madwomen- tomatoes, jams, pickles, salsa, etc. We’re going to get ourselves set for the winter!
This was the year for me too with canning! Not sure what it is, but it is addictive. Last weekend was my first entree into canning with dill pickles – now I just need to wait. This weekend was fig jam – 30 half pints of jam – a little over the top. Your jam looks supreme and perhaps my third canning experience will have to be apricot jam. Nice jo!
I just got into canning this summer, and it is HIGHLY ADDICTIVE. I’m so glad you tried it! It does take an awful amount of cohones to do it the first time, and then every time thereafter, it gets a little easier!
Both of those jam recipes sound amazing, and I am glad your first canning experience was such a pleasure. :) I think canning is the best way to preserve seasonal flavors!