The apricots are so gorgeous right now I have to use them as much as I can. I made apricot tarts with some, and the remaining ripe apricots on my counter made it into the lovely little jam you see in the picture. I don’t make large quantities of jam for long term storage. I make enough for only a few jars to keep in the fridge for immediate consumption or give away to friends. You could follow the canning procedures to sterilize your jars for long term storage if you wish (see Wisconsin University Safe Food Preservation Series).
My jams are pretty simple: fruit, sugar and lemon juice. I rely on the natiural pectin in the fruit and sometimes add the pits for the special flavour and pectin they impart. In terms of quantities I go with equal weight of fruit to sugar give or take. If there is not enough sugar the jam will be more runny but still great for spreading on toasts. Who’s watching? For the jam in this recipe I used more fruit (1.5:1 fruit to sugar) and still liked the consistency. The Wisconsin article I referred to above recommends 8 cups apricots to 6 cups sugar. Suit yourself. Here is how I make it (yields about 6 small jam jars):
1 1/2 kg (about 3 lb) apricots, halved and pitted
A handful of apricot pits (about 10)
1 kg (about 2 lb) sugar
Juice if one small lemon
Combine apricots, sugar, pits and lemon juice in a large pot. Use a larger pot because it helps protect from splattering all over your stove. You can let the mixture sit for a while for the fruit to exude juices but I just put it on medium heat and begin cooking it, stirring frequently from the bottom to prevent it from sticking. Once the mixture comes to a boil reduce heat to a steady simmer and cook for about half an hour until it is thick and syrupy. It will thicken more when it cools.
Spoon the hot jam into clean jars, wipe any spills along the rim or sides with clean, hot wet cloth. See reference above if you want to follow canning procedures.
You can either add the pits to the jars or leave them behind. I add one pit per jar.
Screw on the lid and let cool on the counter.
Keep refrigerate. The recipe makes enough to fill about 6 small jam jars. Give a couple to your friends.