The apricot, a relative of peaches and nectarines, has a short peak season, but the small, sweet fruit is a summer favorite. For those trying their hand at homemade jams this summer, the distinctive flavor, easy-to-remove pit and a skin so velvety it need not be removed, apricot jam is a great place to start. Best of all, this simple recipe requires no added pectin to produce a perfect “stand-up” jam.
What You'll Need
This recipe requires no commercial pectin to produce a firm and flavorful jam. You'll just need 8 cups of apricots, 5 cups of sugar and 1/4 cup of lemon juice for a yield of eight half-pint jars of jam.
Water Bath Canning
Submerging jars in boiling water will create a seal that allows it to be stored for many months without refrigeration. Fill a large pot with water and place on the stove before preparing fruit so it will be boiling and ready to go as soon as the lids are on the jars.
Pit and Chop Apricots
Apricots are a favorite for jam makers because the pit is easily removed and the tender skin may be left on. Remove any bruised or marred fruits, then wash and remove pits. Chop until you have 8 cups worth.
Squeeze 1/4 cup of juice from a fresh lemon. Lemon juice will add a bump of acidity necessary for the jam to set. Citric acid or vinegar may be used instead, but lemon juice does the job very well and comes in such a pretty package.
In a large, non-reactive pot, combine 8 cups chopped apricots, 5 cups of sugar and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Stir to combine and place on the stove over medium-high heat.
Bring to Boil
Bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently to prevent the sticky jam from burning on the bottom of the pot. As the mixture cooks, the fruit will begin to break down and the color will darken.
Cook to Thicken
Continue to cook the jam over medium-high heat for about 20 minutes to a temperature of 220 degrees F (use a candy thermometer). The texture will thicken and bubbling will be more pronounced. To test the consistency of the jam, drip a little on a cold plate and place in the freezer for one minute. If the surface wrinkles when touched, the jam is ready to go.
Use a ladle to fill 8 sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headroom. Once jars are filled, use a cloth or paper towel to wipe the rims clean to help promote a good seal.
Cap with Lids and Bands
Place an unused lid on each jar and secure with a sterilized ring. Do not over-tighten.
Process in Water Bath
Place jars in boiling water bath and process for seven minutes. Remove from pot and cool on countertop. As jars cool, a tell-tale "pop" should be audible, signifying a complete seal. If a jar doesn’t "pop," the jar may not be safe for shelf storage and may be placed in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Apricot jam will set fully within two weeks and may be stored up to a year without significant loss of flavor or texture. Label jars with the contents and date before storing.