Friday, August 6, 2010

Sticky, sticky, yummy jam…

I grew up in a small town and our house was surrounded by apricot orchards. Therefore every summer we would make up batches of apricot jam when the apricots were perfectly ripe and then we could enjoy the taste of summer throughout the year. Now I live in the middle of the city, and I’m not sure there is even an apricot orchard left in this county, which is sad. But every Friday in the summer I walk downtown to the farmers market and buy up all my fresh fruits for the week. Well after enjoying some fantastic apricots, I decided to make jam.

I picked up supplies at the grocery store; canning jars, lids and pectin. And then walked down to the farmers market for apricots. The vendor looked at me a little funny as I loaded up my bag with ten pounds of the squishiest looking apricots. I’m sure she thought I was crazy cause no way could I consume that amount of fruit but see the secret to our jam has always been using the apricots that were almost overripe. So the recipe for apricot jam is very easy containing only a few ingredients; apricots, lemon juice, pectin and sugar.

I pit the apricots and blend most of them in my blender till I have a liquid. About ¼ of the apricots I cut into quarters and throw into the mix for texture then I add the lemon juice to the mix. Now here is where I veer off the recipe from the pectin box. I double the recipe. Despite the fact that the recipe says DO NOT DOUBLE in big bold letters. But the reason for this warning is that some stovetops do not get hot enough to heat your jam quickly enough for the pectin to do its job, but my stove has a huge burner that is capable heating the jam mixture sufficiently, so I break the rules. I sterilize the jars in the dishwasher (my dishwasher has a sterilization function) and then fill the still hot jars with jam, then place a lid on the jar and tighten the ring to hold the lid on.

Then I flip the jar over and leave the jar on the counter. As the jam cools and sets the air pressure does something science-y and the lids seal. You will know that the jars have sealed when the pop out button on the top of the lid sucks down and doesn’t click/pop when you press on it.

Now after making a double batch of apricot jam, I had some apricots left over and I also had half a flat of strawberries in my fridge. Well I like apricot jam and I like strawberry jam, so why not apricot/strawberry jam. So I followed the same process and made some apricot/strawberry jam.
And now I shall find a whole bunch of uses for these yummy jams… or I could just eat them using a spoon.


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