It’s that time of the year my friends. Our days of pretending it’s warm enough in Seattle to go swimming in Lake Washington are slowly coming to an end. Those barely sunny afternoons will soon give way to crisp fall mornings and sidewalks covered in slippery piles of wet, mushy leaves. You will undoubtedly be made aware of this untimely event the day that you walk to work in shorts and the high temperature is 50 degrees. Or maybe you will stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the changing seasons by wearing cute ballet flats on that October afternoon as frigid water pours out of the stone grey sky. It will get cold. Apples and potatoes will make up 75% of the produce section. Football season will consume America. You will eat lots of soup and upgrade your Netflix plan. But before you dust off your seasonal affective disorder lamp, you must take this opportunity to capitalize on the present. Now is your chance to gather those last, tasty morsels of your favorite summer fruit, cook them with ridiculous amounts of sugar, and store it in cute glass jars to uncover and savor in the dark, cold depths of winter. Everyone, it is time to get jammin’!
My favorite kind of jam is apricot. The golden orange color and the sweet and tangy flesh are hard to beat, especially when paired with soft butter on a slice of toasted French bread.
This summer in the Pacific Northwest, apricots came and went in a flash. But if you happen to be a special type of food hoarder like myself, you might still have some ripening on your kitchen counter. If not, don’t fret. You can get jammin’ with almost any kind of fruit you like, just make sure it is ripe and looks as cool as this…
Read more and get jammin’!
Vanilla Apricot Jam
makes about eight, 6 ounce jars
This is a very basic recipe that I made slightly less basic by tossing in a vanilla bean. I just like the subtle warmth the vanilla bean gives the sharp apricot flavor, but it is definitely not a necessity and can be omitted without any detrimental effects. I also tweaked Lebovitz’s recipe by adding some honey to the party. You could also try this recipe with ripe, peeled peaches or nectarines.
2 pounds ripe apricots, halved, pits removed
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces) water
5 cups sugar
1 cup honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
First get your glass canning jars, bands, and lids ready by cleaning and sanitizing them. Placing the clean components in a large pot of boiling water for thirty seconds will sanitize them. Make sure to remove the jars, bands, and lids with clean tongs and let everything air dry.
If you don’t have a candy thermometer, put a small ceramic plate in the freezer (this is for testing the consistency of the jam later).
Place apricots in a large pot.
Add the water and the vanilla bean and place over medium heat.
Cover with a lid and cook until fruit is soft and cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.
When the apricots are soft and tender, carefully stir in the sugar. I used a combination of granulated white sugar, organic unrefined cane sugar, and demerara sugar because I felt like it.
Stir in the honey.
Increase the heat and bring mixture to a boil.
Cook over medium-high heat for 15 to 25 minutes, or until the mixture looks thick and slightly jelly like. During cooking, be sure to skim off any foam that forms with a ladle.
If you have a candy thermometer, cook until the jam reaches 220 degrees Fahrenheit. If you do not have a candy thermometer, test the consistency by dropping a small amount of jam on the chilled plate. Put the plate back in the freezer for a moment and test the texture with your finger. You are looking for wrinkles to form when you softly push your finger into the jam. If there are no wrinkles or mounds, it needs to cook longer.
When the jam has finished cooking, carefully remove the vanilla bean pod and stir in the lemon juice.
Carefully pour the hot jam into the prepped jars, secure the lids, and screw the bands on tightly.
Let the jam cool at room temperature and then store in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat it. Lebovitz’s recipe will keep for about a year in the refrigerator, but if you are seeking long term food preservation tips, he advises investigating the USDA’s Canning Guidelines.
Enjoy this jam on some buttered toast, or better yet slathered on a briochtopus. Or use as a filling for a linzer cookie or layer cake. Just be sure you’re jammin’ when you’re jammin’.