Apricot season is here and, since it is one of my favorite fruits, I am enjoying daily consumption while the fruit is fresh and ripe. I make a variety of desserts with apricots at this season and every year I make at least one batch of apricot jam. It is so versatile; I use it to glaze fruit tarts, fill cookies, spread on rolls, toast and biscuits, spread on crepes and pancakes, and eat directly with a spoon. This jam recipe comes perfect every time. When I was younger and a novice jam maker I used an entire box of pectin to make my apricot jam and it was too solid and difficult to spread. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong because I was following pectin package instructions. Then one day I had extra apricots and gave them to my mother in law. We made jam together and it was excellent with a perfect texture: slightly runny with small chunks of fruit. She explained that apricots have pectin in them, so if you want a more runny jam, only use 2-1/2 Tablespoons of pectin per batch. You want very ripe, somewhat mushy apricots for this jam. The flavor is more intense with very ripe fruit. Making jam can be intimidating. But if you sterilize your jars ahead of time in the dishwasher, get your water bath on the stove before you begin, assemble the jars, sterilize the lids, and have all the utensils on the counter ahead of time, pre-measuring the needed ingredients, it comes together easily.
5 c. chopped apricots
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
2-1/2 Tbsp. powdered pectin
7 c. sugar
Place fruit in the food processor and pulse to finely chop, but not completely purée. You want some small chunks of fruit. Place fruit in a heavy bottom pot. Add lemon juice and pectin, then bring to a boil, stirring often, and boil 1 minute. Add sugar, return to a rolling boil, and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and ladle into 10 sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space at the top. Wipe rims and place lid on. Water bath for 20 minutes to seal. Makes 10 half-pint jars.