APRICOT JAM



Apricots develop so much more flavour after cooking, and this jam has a beautiful deep colour. Enjoy apricot jam on toast, jam drop biscuits, sweet pastries, sandwiches or crackers - or topping yoghurt or ice-cream. We even enjoy using it as a marinade for salad or chicken!
  
Ingredients for  APRICOT JAM


 
Yield: 4-5 cups
Yield: 9-10 cups
Apricots, Fresh or Frozen
900g (2 pounds)
1.8kg (4 pounds)
Lemon Juice (Fresh or Bottled)
1/8 cup
1/4 cup
Sugar, White
3 cups
6 cups

METHOD:
1.  Clean jars (or bottles) and equipment by washing in hot soapy water and rinsing well before use.
2.  Wash apricots and drain, peel (if you prefer, by blanching apricots in boiling water for 1 minute, then in cold water, then cut off peels), halve apricots and remove pits. Dice or puree.
If using frozen apricots: place frozen apricots into a bowl and thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Any juice in the bowl will be added to the recipe as part of the fruit weight.
3.  Prepare jars (if they require pre-heating, i.e. twist top jars) in a pot lined with a cloth. Cover jars with water and bring to a boil, boiling for 10 minutes. Once the time is up, turn the heat off and leave jars in the hot water until ready to fill. 
4.  Place lids into a bowl. Cover with boiling water. Remove the lids from the water when you are ready to place them onto the jars to seal.  
5.  Measure prepared apricots, lemon juice and sugar into a large wide pot. Simmer until sugar has dissolved and apricots are very soft. Mash or puree if preferred.
6. Bring jam to a boil, and boil until it reaches gel stage (104°C/220°F), approximately 20-25 minutes. Whisk occasionally to prevent it sticking on the base of the pot.
**Check jam has set via Freezer Plate Method, Temperature Method and/or Sheeting Method:
Freezer Plate Method - while you are boiling the jam, place three small saucers into the freezer. When ready to test for gel stage, remove the jam pot from heat. Remove one saucer from the freezer and place a spoonful of jam onto the chilled surface. Within 30 seconds, gelled jam will thicken and develop a skin (and when you push a spoon through the jam, it will be thick and not run when the saucer is angled). If the jam is still loose (runny), return jam to the stovetop and continue boiling for around 5 minutes or until ready to test with the second saucer.
TIP: Forgotten to put the plates into the freezer? Use a glass filled with iced water to chill several teaspoons to check the consistency instead.
Temperature Method: if the fruit, sugar, acidity and pectin in the jam mixture is balanced (ingredient ratios change with different fruits being used), jam will set (gel) at approximately 105°C (220°F). A sterilised stainless steel thermometer can be used to measure the temperature accurately. This method is not accurate with low-sugar jam, because low-sugar jams often have to be boiled for a longer period, and fresh fruit may vary with natural pectin levels.
Sheeting Method: mix jam and then lift the spoon above the pot and angle so the jam drips back into the pot. If the jam covers the spoon’s surface thickly and is not runny but thick jam that drops slowly (i.e. jam droplets join together as large droplets),the jam has set.
7.  Remove jars from hot water and place onto a heatproof surface i.e. tea towel. Discard foam from surface of the jam (if any). Pour the hot apricot jam into the hot jars to 0.5cm (1/4 inch) from the rim.
TIP: use a jug and jar funnel to fill jars.
8.  Wipe jar rims with a clean, damp cloth to remove any jam residue.
9.  Remove lids from hot water and seal jars i.e. twist to secure “fingertip tight”.
10.  Return jars of jam into the pot of boiling water and boil for the processing time stated below. Start the timer once the water comes back to a full boil.
11.  Turn off the heat source once the time is up. Remove jars from hot water after 5 more minutes. Cool jars overnight on a heatproof surface i.e. wooden board or towel. Do not adjust lids during this time.
12.  The next day, check jars have sealed before labelling and dating clearly.
13.  Store jars of apricot jam in a cool, dark and dry place (i.e. pantry) for up to 12 months. Jar lids should remain tightly sealed during storage, and not flex up or down when pressed (which indicates jar seal failure, do not consume).
14.  Refrigerate jars upon opening and consume contents within 6-8 weeks.
   
Processing Time for   APRICOT JAM   in a Boiling Water Canner

Jar Size
Altitude
≤ 1,000 feet
Altitude
1,001 - 3,000 feet
Altitude
3,001 - 6,000 feet
Altitude
≥ 6,000 feet
Hot Pack
≤ 1 Litre
(quarts)
5
minutes
10 minutes
10 minutes
15 minutes
             
FLAVOUR IDEAS:
o       Infuse with vanilla or rosemary (add rosemary sprig at beginning of step 5, then remove before mashing/pureeing);
o       Add a little honey, if desired (2-3 tablespoons);
o       Add a nip of liqueur: try orange, almond, brandy or rum (1 teaspoon per jar, added into each jar before filling with apricot jam).
  
NOTES:
o      Did you know most store bought apricot spreads only contain 40% fruit and 60% sugar. This recipe uses 60% apricots. Another reason to make your own using fresh apricots!
 
Author: Megan Radaich          
Image credit: Megan Radaich          
Publication: www.foodpreserving.org     

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