The five of us spent this morning at a friend’s house picking apricots

Sweet, juicy, sun-ripened apricots.   

The tree branches literally sagged with the weight of those delicious, peach-colored fruit… it was beautiful!  The only kind of apricot I’d ever eaten was the dried variety from a grocery store, so this was a treat indeed! 

I felt just like a kid scampering for candy at a parade… there were so many apricots to pick from the trees and off the ground that we filled our bags with hardly any effort at all.  All together, we picked about 100 lbs of apricots in an hour.  The fruit trees have really produced in abundance this year! 

I wish I’d had my camera charged and with me… my kids’ faces were priceless as they ran from branch to branch, stuffing apricots into their bags and (mostly) into their mouths!

After lunch, my hubby and I spent this afternoon making apricot jam.  We ended up with way too much fruit for the amount of jelly jars and other ingredients we had on hand, so the majority of the apricots went into the freezer to use later (fresh cobbler, anyone?).  

The apricots we used for the jam yielded about 13 (8 oz) jelly jars and 6 pint-size jars of goodies.  As I sit here at the computer, I can hear the first batch of jars “popping” as the lids seal… can’t wait to smother a piece of toast with homemade apricot jam in the morning for breakfast

Here is the recipe I used for our jam.  We used 20 pounds of our apricots to make into jam, so I had to multiply the batch several times.  The original recipe uses just 4 lbs of apricots.  From what I’ve read, most jam recipes call for 1 cup of sugar per pound of fruit.  I couldn’t bring myself to add twenty cups of sugar to our jam, so I used less.  Check out Jelly and Jam Basics if you’re a newbie to making and canning jelly (like me!) and could use some help.
   

Apricot Jam 
4 lbs apricots
1/4 C lemon juice or white vinegar
one (1.75 to 2 oz) box pectin
4 C sugar cane crystals 
(8 oz) jelly jars, seals, and rings

1. Fill canning pot halfway with water and place it on the stove over medium heat.  Add a few teaspoons of white vinegar to keep the jars from spotting.

2. Wash your canning jars seals, and rings in HOT, soapy water.  Rinse and let them sit in HOT water until you are ready to fill them.  (I ran my jars through the dishwasher and let them sit in the steam instead.)  **You can reuse jars and rings, but always buy new seals to ensure proper sealing.**

3. Wash apricots, cut them in half, and remove pits.  It isn’t necessary to peel them.  Process apricots in a food processor until smooth (about 30 seconds).  You can also mash them with a potato masher, but a food processor produces a much smoother puree.  Pour apricot puree into a large cooking pot (a stock pot will work best if you are making a large amount of jam).  Repeat until all apricots have been pureed and are in the pot.

4. Add lemon juice or white vinegar to apricot puree and stir.  Immediately add pectin and stir again.  Bring to a rolling boil over medium/high heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching and sticking.  Once mixture reaches a rolling boil, begin adding sugar, once cup at a time.  Stir well after each addition. 

5. Once sugar has been added, allow mixture to boil for at least one minute.

6. Using a canning funnel (to prevent burning yourself) and ladle, pour hot jam mixture into HOT jars.  Leave about 1-inch of space at the top of the jars.  Wipe jars with a wet cloth and seal tightly with lids. 

7. Carefully place jars into canning pot (use a pair of canning tongs if you have some).  Water should cover the jars by at least 1/2 inch. 

8. Allow water to come to a full boil, then set your timer for 15 minutes. You can either use a water bath canning pot, or a pressure cooker minus the lid (that’s what I did).  The main thing to remember is do not start the clock until the water in the canner has come to a hard boilI canned a batch of 8-oz jelly jars and a batch of 16-oz pint jars, and both sizes needed to process for 15 minutes. 

9.  With a pair of canning tongs, carefully remove jars from water and place on the counter on a thick towel.  You will hear the lids start to “pop” after a few minutes as the lids begin to seal.  Leave the jars undisturbed overnight to allow the jam to cool and “set”.  Label and date the jars and store them in your pantry!        

Our piping-hot-fresh-from-the-canner-homemade-apricot jam!

   

I still have cucumbers on ice, waiting to be pickled later today!  I’ll post more about that next week. 

Happy (busy) Summer, everyone!

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