Friday, June 28, 2013

Easy Apricot Freezer Jam

            I have awesome neighbors.  Honestly, I plunked down into an entire neighborhood of fantastic people who watch your pets while you're away, mow your lawn if you're sick, and share the bounties of their gardens.  Two days ago one of them came by (THANK YOU, MEL!) with a bag of luscious apricots, freshly picked from her tree.  Such a gift cannot be purchased at any price, because it also comes with her two smiling children, brimming with the wonderful lesson of generosity she is teaching them.
            So, as I always do, I whipped up a batch of jam, setting aside a jar for Mel.  Now, I know countless people who are afraid to make jam.  The idea of "putting up" anything in glass jars sounds too daunting, so they miss out on the glorious flavor of homemade jam for the rest of their lives.  Well, wait no more!  It's summertime and you can EASILY make a row of gleaming jams from the bountiful fruit we all enjoy this time of year.  Here's some apricot jam I made just yesterday:
            You'll notice it's in a large Mason jar, and that by the time I got around to taking a photo, Bob and I had already devoured a ridiculous amount on homemade biscuits and ice cream (what a great topping!).  If you follow these easy steps, you will have jam all year, even in the winter.  You will also have lovely hostess gifts at the ready.  And you will experience delicious living right away.  Choose fruit that's heavy for its size (thus juicy), and ripe as opposed to overly firm.
            Unlike general jams and jellies, freezer jam is super easy to make-- you need no special equipment, and nothing has to boil or pressure cook.  This recipe is for apricots, but you can substitute (or mix) berries or plums as well (peaches you have to peel; apricots and plums you do not).  I doubled this recipe.  Here we go:

3 cups fruit pulp (mash the pitted apricots, plums, or berries by hand, or in a processor)
1/2 Cup lemon juice
1 pkg. pectin
1 Cup light corn syrup
4 & 1/2 Cups sugar (I know!  More sugar than fruit-- what?  But this is jam, folks, so yes)
7 (8 oz.) jars with lids, sterilized

1. Pour the pulp into a large sauce pan (no heat.)  Stir in the lemon juice.  Now stir in the pectin and set a timer so you can stir it every 5 minutes, for half an hour.  Should be easy; you can get your jars ready during this time.
2. Now stir in the corn syrup thoroughly.  Stir in the sugar next.  Heat the mixture over very low heat, as you stir. You don't want it to get hot, just warm enough to dissolve the sugar.  Now pour into jars, screw on lids, and you're done!  Makes 7 (8 oz.) jars.  This jam will keep in the freezer for a year, or in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. 



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