Food Flirt

Food, recipes, cooking, travel,

My Photo
Location: Petaluma, California, United States

Jacqueline is an international award winning journalist whose stories about food never fail to tantalize her reader's taste buds.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Apricot Season - JAM's JAM

Apricot Season

I grew up in the Santa Clara Valley and we had apricot trees all around us. Apricots reach their peak in July and I can remember lying under the trees reading a book and nibbling on the sweet, fat and juicy fruit. When I was about 12 or 13, my older sister and I, along with the kids across the street from us, hired out as farm workers cutting cots. We sat in front of large trays cutting the cots in half, scooping out the pits and placing the sections on large trays. When the trays were full, they were stacked into the sulfur smoke oven to cure and then out into the hot sun to dry. Today most of the apricot orchards around there are gone, replaced by Silicon Valley high tech organizations. The majority of the apricots grown today come from the San Joaquin Valley in Central California. They are often picked green and left to ripen, if they can, in grocery stores. They often don’t ripen and, although their color looks tempting, their flesh can be hard and tastes terrible. One of my big fears is that many of the children of tomorrow will never have the opportunity to taste a tree-ripened apricot. Fortunately we have a many farmers’ markets around the San Francisco Bay Area and in July they offer an abundance of tree-ripened apricots.

Apricot jam has always been my son Timothy’s favorite. He eats it by the spoonful directly from the jar. So, naturally, every year I wait until the apricots are at their peak and then declare that it is Apricot Jam day. Somehow the ritual of making the jam is comforting and the smell of the cooking fruit is heavenly.


Prepare Jars:
Sterilize 10 pint canning jars, along with lids and seals, in your dishwasher. Be sure to set it on high heat. Leave in dishwasher until cool enough to handle and you are ready to pour in the finished jam.

If you don’t have a dishwasher, place jars and lids in large pot and boil for ten minutes. Drain water but leave jars and lids in pot until they are cool enough to handle and you are ready to pour in the finished jam.

8 cups of apricots (approximately 4 pounds), pitted, and chopped
3 tbsp of lemon juice
6 cups of sugar , to taste (The amount of sugar used depends on the sweetness of the fruit.)
1 (3 oz) pack of liquid pectin
1 tsp of butter

Combine the apricots, lemon juice and sugar in a pan and place the pan over a medium-high heat; stir constantly until the sugar dissolves.

Bring the mix to a boil for ten minutes, stirring often. Skim off any foam that accumulates.

Add the butter and bring the mixture to a boil again.

Add the pectin; bring back to a boil, stirring constantly.

Boil for 1 minute.

Pour into prepared jars, screw on lids. Wipe off any spills and invert jars to cool. When completely cooled, turn right side up.

One of my favorite sounds is the little popping noise the lids make as they seal the jars.

I store my jams in the refrigerator.