Saturday, July 3, 2010

"The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday - but never jam to-day."

Another break from sewing today... because my parent's apricot tree is LOADED with fruit. I'm crazy about preserving, mainly jams and marmalades, so I started with a batch of apricot jam today.

My mom dropped this box on my doorstep a year or so ago, and I've been using it ever since. We have access to lots of fruit trees, berries and gardens, so I rarely have to buy any fruit or vegetables to can...

Apricots are one of my favorite summer fruits, but they don't last long on the tree... because the birds love them too! So we're trying to preserve and eat as many as possible.

Making jam was a little intimidating
at first, but it's quite painless, and it
tastes SO much better than the stuff
you can buy at the supermarket.

I found this recipe, and chose it because it didn't call for peeling the apricots. I don't mind a little work, but peeling the skin off seemed unnecessary to me.

So the apricots get washed, seeded, roughly chopped and everyone gets thrown into the hot tub.

... stir and add some heat. The sugar melts and things come up to a boil pretty quickly.

After a 30 minute boil, we're ready to do a gel test.

I like to put a small glass plate in the freezer when I start to make the jam, and by this point it's cold enough to test. Just drop a little bit of jam on the plate and wait a few seconds to make sure it sets.

The jars also need to be sterilized and hot when the jam is ready to be canned. Seems like a lot of steps, but it's just a matter of timing! I put the jars in the dishwasher and start my water boiling at the same time... that way everything is ready to go by the time the jam is done.

The lids also need a little soak in hot water, to ensure a good seal.

Jam in the jars before lids are on...

Lids on, everyone in the hot tub again. The recipe called for a 10 minute water bath, and I usually add a couple minutes more... so we went for 12 minutes.

The finished product.

Now I get to hear the symphony of 'pings', when the lids clamp down as the temperature cools.
I got 9 and 1/2 half pint jars out of this recipe... and it's gonna kick my PB&J up a notch!

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