Sunday, August 03, 2008

Guest post: Making apricot jam

I'm one of the friends that Erin mentioned who makes jam, and I have to admit that I am eager to seduce her with the whole process. It's not hard if you follow a few rules, and the results are disproportionate to the effort in my mind. The beauty of the jam, the satisfying 'pops!' when the jars seal, and the jam! It is, of course, delicious. A whole other beast from store-bought.

In no case is this more true than for apricot jam. I'm not crazy about apricots in their off-the-tree state. They seem kind of dry, and boring in the non-pastry context, and when faced with the seasonal alternatives like peaches and berries, I'm left with a feeling of 'who gives?' when faced with the notion of eating an apricot.

I had never bought an apricot until last summer, when I decided, for some reason, to make apricot jam. I had been making other jams, like strawberry and raspberry, and I guess I was more game to give it a try. When I bought the amount I needed and it cost TWO DOLLARS, I excitedly trundled home, full of suspicion that I might really be onto something.

Then, the preparation. MINIMAL! You wash them, slice them in half, take the pits out,'re done! It takes no time. The features of this endeavour were becoming irrefutable.

I used this recipe. Again, not sure why, but I'm glad I did. Basically, once you prepare the apricots, you put them in a pot with sugar and lemon juice (and zest if you have real lemons. I've only ever used organic lemon juice) and gently boil them down. The skins dissolve. And flesh of the fruit breaks down. and a beautiful orange goo emerges.

A delicious beautiful orange goo.

I'm not going to go into the intricacies of the canning process here, but I would like to reassure everyone that you can do it! And it's fun, and when winter rolls around, and you spoon some of this onto toast, you will never look at that twoonie in your bag the same way again.

PS: Erin! Have a great vacation! I'm sure we are all excited to hear your tales!


zoe said...

That jam looks delicious! I am inspired. According to Erin's complex DIY algorithm, I am still at least a year away from making my own jam. For now, I am content to make future jam plans. And ogle other people's jam. Yum. Jam.

Jen said...

Maybe next year we can make some jam together...don't want to rush you! Or mess with the algorithm!

Sarah said...

thanks for the link to the recipe, jen. have you ever tried adding things to your jam, like ginger, to make it a bit more zippy? i'd like to try this with apricots but am wary about the creative process in case it turns out tasting poopy. any thoughts?

Jen said...

You should try the jam that comes out of this recipe Sarah! I don't really know what I would pair with it, since the tart deliciousness isn't something I'd want to distract from. I am a purist though, when it comes to these things, so I think I'm the wrong person to ask.

Does anyone have any ideas about this? Help Sarah, as I cannot!

Lydia said...

That sounds amazing. I am sorely tempted to start making jam, but am sort of afraid of processing. I got a recipe off Amateur Gourmet's site for non-processed fridge jam, so it only lasts a few weeks. I might start with that. Baby steps.
However, now I'm kicking myself for not buying a flat of apricots when I was in the farm country.

Lydia said...

Two years later and I am ready to do this thing. You should write a "Jam Making 101", as I mentioned to Erin, with a shopping list. By the way, I am in love with eating apricots this season. They are delightful little tart blushing bites. Better than peaches...SO FAR.