Today amid driver’s ed and housecleaning and dealing with kid ‘tudes and hosting an afternoon swim attended by 15 cousins, I also managed to can 24 pints of apricot jam. I say this not to brag, but to encourage those of you who are thinking about trying canning.
Canning is NOT hard. It so isn’t.
I got my apricots for free from a relative– gotta love that. This time of year many people with apricot trees find themselves swimming in apricots. If you ask around, you may score some for free too.
Mary’s Truly Easy Apricot Jam
4-1/2 cups apricot puree (use food processer)
1/2 cup lemon juice (or vinegar, which is what I used– this keeps the apricots a good safe acidity)
1 box Sure-Jell pectin (or similar brand)
6 cups sugar
Wash and sort the apricots. It is OK to use apricots with small soft spots as long as they aren’t discolored or (duh) moldy. My 3 and 6 year old daughters helped me sort, and did a good job at it. Tear the apricots in halves to remove the pits. My 10 year old sons did this for me. Fill food processer with apricot chunks and puree for a minute or so. Repeat until you have enough puree.
Wash 5 pint sized canning jars and rings. Fill a boiling water canner half full of water and bring to a boil on the stove. Dip each jar in and out of the boiling water. If you do not have a canner, you can use a very large pot, something tall enough that your jars can be fully submerged in water during processing.
Measure your puree carefully and pour into a big pot on the stove. Immediately mix in the pectin using a wire whisk. Heat mixture to a full rolling boil, first stirring occasionally and then more frequently as mixture heats up.
Once the mixture has reached a full rolling boiling, add sugar a couple cups at a time, stirring continuously. When all sugar is added and mixture has returned to a full rolling boiling, cook for one minute.
Pour mixture quickly into jars leaving 1/4 inch of ‘headspace’, or airspace at the top of the jar. Wipe edges of jars clean. Set on lids and screw rings on tightly. Process in boiling water water bath for 15 minutes. Remove jars carefully and set on a towel on the counter to cool overnight.
Once cool, lids should seal down tightly so that you cannot push them further down when you press the center of the cap. If any of your jars do not seal, simply set them in the fridge and use within a couple weeks.
One batch of jam will probably take you an hour–more if you have an infant, and less if you have a kid or two over the age of 5 who is willing to give you a hand. And it is so darned pretty to look at when you’re done. One of the things I love about canning is that it is one of the few jobs that it doesn’t get UNdone immediately. Unlike laundry or vacuuming or dishes!
I’d love to hear if you decide to try your hand at this– it truly isn’t hard.