The Recipe: A small batch of fresh apricot jam, barely sweet and with a bare touch of rosemary and lemon. And then? No canning required! This is a rustic and fruity refrigerator jam that's super-super apricot-y. We can't get enough!
Ah, August and September's bounty! Last week's score was two crates of peaches and tomatoes and three quarts of apricots – all seconds, all on the cheap.
Within a few hours, I cranked up the stove to make this year's batch of an old family recipe. (We call it "Sharon's Pickle" for my cousin Sharon, who loves it so much but for others I call Ripe-Tomato Relish with Peaches & Pears.) It's a project, for sure, three hours just to prep the fruits and vegetables, then some hours of cooking, then canning.
If you're like me and only can every so often, reviewing my Practical Home Canning Tips is a good way to get back into the groove.
Sharon's Pickle left me with exactly zero energy for turning lovely, perfectly ripe apricots into the envisioned jarsful of jam. Instead I worked out a small batch recipe for a refrigerator apricot jam, barely sweet and thus rich with ripe apricot flavor with quick flicks of fresh rosemary and lemon.
Best of all? No canning required! No sterilized jars. No boiling water. Just 25 minutes, including minimum kitchen cleanup.
Yes, this is a so-called "refrigerator jam". That means it should be refrigerated (duh) and eaten within a week or so (yum). The eating proved to be no issue, the first jar is gone. Lucky for us? I made two!
This is simplicity at its best, just fruit, a touch of sugar and the herby rosemary, no pectin required. The jam will thicken on its own, thanks to the natural pectin in stone fruits like apricots, peaches, nectarines and plums.
So far, this is how I've used the apricot jam:
Spooned a few spoonsful over Almost-Chewy Creamy Oatmeal.
Whizzed some with a little mayo for a gorgeous fruity topping for burgers.
In the fridge now? A layer of apricot jam topped with butterscotch cream for #PieDayFriday. Yes, I'm back on Instagram, follow me there!
This weekend, I'll drizzle a little over thin slices of pound cake.
Most of all? Toast! I suddenly understand how our friends George and René go through jars of jam just for morning toast.
Me? I feel an obsession coming on! I make bread nearly every week, why not fresh jam too? Something this easy, this fresh, this useful, this adaptable – and most of all, this wonderful – it's my kinda cookin'. My "Summer Easy" kinda cookin'.
EASY APRICOT JAM with ROSEMARY
Time to table: 25 minutes
Makes 2-3/4 cups
JUST FOUR INGREDIENTS!
- 1-1/4 pounds fresh apricots, skins left on, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- Zest & juice of a lemon (about 2 tablespoons, don't skip)
In a large, heavy saucepan, bring the apricot, sugar and rosemary to a gentle boil on medium heat. Once the apricot juice begins to release, use the back of a spatula or a potato masher to mash the fruit, not pureeing it smooth, instead aiming for a rustic fruit spread with distinct texture. Cook until thick, mashing and stirring continuously.
Once thick, remove from the heat and remove the rosemary. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Let cool, then transfer to a pretty glass jar and refrigerate.
MAKE-AHEAD TIPS Eat this on the spot or eat it up within a week.
VARIATIONS If you're short on apricots, toss in a peach or nectarine, one of these may actually enhance the essence of apricot.
ALANNA's TIPS Stay close and stir continuously, otherwise the high-sugar and low-liquid content could burn.
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