Women love to talk about jams, jellies, and marmalades. They dream about them. They pass the pictures of preserves around on Facebook.
Some of us can make these at home; others can’t, but everybody wants to. Ironically for me, I haven’t made a single batch before, and neither have my mom and grandma. They just never learned how.
When I came to Oregon ten years ago and settled, I began to cook these for the first time, figuring things out as I went. I’ve since made them with farm-grown raspberries, pricey imported figs, and cherries. In fact, I got so into jams and jellies over the years that I began to think of fruit as an artistic medium.
As it happens, I’ve made this insanely delicious batch yesterday using apricots halves. Although there isn’t a lot of local apricots, I found that store-bought organic apricots from California work just as well in this delightful traditional recipe. All the better if you can find apricots locally-grown and in the season.
Here is the fresh apricot jam recipe for you – print it today, cook it when you get the chance:
1 tablespoon lemon juice (+1 teaspoon lemon juice, divided.)
Combine water, sugar, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice together in a heavy-bottomed pot and start heating everything up over medium-high heat.
When the sugar is mostly dissolved, add in the apricots.
Bring everything to a boil, reduce the heat to a fast simmer, and continue cooking for approximately 50 minutes, or until the syrup has thickened to some consistency.
Once the preserves are finished but still hot, stir in the remaining teaspoon of lemon juice for an extra kick of color and flavor.
Transfer the finished preserves into a mason jar while still hot and allow to cool, uncovered, on the counter. Cover the cooled preserves and place them in the fridge, where they will keep for several months.
Preserves and jams of all kinds can also be frozen, where they will keep for several years – just remember to not fill your jars all the way to the top to allow the room for expansion.
Use them to sweeten plain yogurt or as an accompaniment to unsweetened black tea, preferably home-brewed.