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Monday, June 24, 2013

Fresh Apricot Preserves

If I find decent apricots on sale, I buy a bunch of them and make apricot preserves. In previous years, I've made apricot butter, but preserves are less work. They taste just as good. Jams and preserves contain a lot of sugar. That's because the sugar is a preservative. So, don't be tempted to reduce the sugar. There are low-sugar jam recipes out there and if you want to cut back on the sugar, use them. Don't tinker with the high-sugar recipes.

You can "can" it, water processing the preserves in jars. I have tended towards the lazy person's method of preserving since getting my chest freezer. I put the preserves in freezer containers and they keep just fine in the deep chill. There's nothing better than pulling out a bit of summer's golden sunshine in the middle of winter. This stuff makes a great gift too, in which case you will want to preserve it because frozen jam doesn't ship well. ;-)

Fresh Apricot Preserves
(makes about 3 ½ cups)

3 cups coarsely chopped fresh apricots, about 2 pounds
3 ½ cups sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Stir together all the ingredients in a large stainless steel, glass, or plastic bowl. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 12 hours, stirring occasionally.

Scrape out the apricot mixture into a dutch oven or large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium and boil rapidly, uncovered, until mixture is thick and gels on a cold spoon.

Pour into freezer containers for long term freezer storage or put into sterilized jars and water-process for 5 minutes (15 minutes at Boulder altitude).

If you are not familiar with home canning, get yourself a good book that explains the process. This recipe came from Small-Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard. It's an excellent book for modern home cooks on preserving, both for the process and for the recipes.