When apricots went on sale for 99 cents a pound recently, I couldn’t resist buying as many as I could carry home. They were firm when I bought them, and jam-ready the next day. Now I’m talking refrigerator apricot jam – the easiest and most delicious — of all jams.
I LOVE apricot jam.
But I must warn you. This is a gateway jam. Make it once and you’ll not be able to stop making it again and again. Then you’ll start imagining what else you can jam…and can.
It’s so easy I didn’t even bother writing up a recipe. Instead, I just took a whole bunch of photos to illustrate the steps.
After you get your apricots home (I’ve got about 5 pounds here, which made 5 jarfuls, above), all you do is rinse them, slice or tear them in half, and let the pits fall out. Then put the apricot halves in the biggest pot you’ve got, add about 1/4 cup of water, cover, and turn the heat to medium-low. Let this cook, turning the apricots over with your wooden spoon ever now and then so they’ll all begin to soften. This won’t take long; maybe 10, 15 minutes, tops.
Add 3/4 cup of sugar per pound, stir, and let this cook for awhile. What’ll happen is the apricots will get even softer, some will break up completely and the mixture will reduce, thicken, and turn dark amber. This may take as much as 30 to 45 minutes. Keep stirring every now and then (don’t walk away, like I did the first time I tried this — the sugar burned on the bottom), and pay attention to the changes in color and thickness.
How do you know when it’s JAM? Easy. Just take a small plate, pop it in the freezer, and when it’s nice and cold, bring it out and put about a quarter spoonful of your jam mixture on the plate. Put it back in the freezer for 3 or 4 minutes. If it firms up, you’ve got jam. If it’s still quite liquidy, keep cooking until your jam thickens to its proper jammy state, and keep testing with the plate in the freezer until it hits that jammy sweetspot of firmness.
There? Turn off the heat, spoon your jam into jars, let them cool completely, then refrigerate.
And if you’re like me, you’ll give them away to your friends and then do it all over again. (Yes, jam-making is that addictive.)