UTAH, July 26, 2013 — By the end of July, people with apricot trees have quickly become overwhelmed by the abundance of fruit. Apricots ripen almost all at once, and at the peak of their season, it is a veritable downpour of fuzzy little fruits, much to the delight of any wildlife lurking nearby.
Stepping onto a rotten apricot in the lawn is no fun at all so many load them up into plastic grocery bags with the best of intentions. A few days later, nothing has been done, the apricots have gone mushy, and people begin to take covert measures such as leaving them in the cars of unsuspecting friends and strangers hoping they will make use of them before it is too late.
Before you take the desperate step of breaking and entering to rid yourself of the guilt brought about by letting such little golden gems go to waste, consider making jam.
Freezer jam is a culinary gift that makes preserving your harvest a little less daunting. Jam concentrates all of the apricot flavor and keeps it locked at peak freshness extending your personal apricot season throughout the whole year.
This jam recipe is special because you do not need to peel the apricots and you can make it in an hour. It is special because you can use your overripe mushy apricots as long as they are still fresh and not moldy.
This jam is special because the addition of almond extract takes things to a whole new level.
You should use very ripe apricots for this jam because ripening enhances the natural flavors, and the sugar content. Freezer jam must be kept in the refrigerator once thawed and is good for approximately 3 weeks.
It will last in the freezer for up to a year.
6-7 pounds of fresh apricots (should make about 4 cups of puree)
9 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup pectin
5 cups sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
Wash and dry six 1 cup plastic heat-resistant containers with lids.
Rinse the apricots to clean them and remove the pits. If the fruits are very ripe you can split them open with your hands and the pits should come out easily.
Puree fruit in a food processor.
In a large heavy-bottom pot, over medium heat, combine 4 cups of apricot puree, lemon juice, and pectin. Bring to a boil and add the sugar all at once, stirring constantly at a rapid boil for 15 minutes.
To test the jam to see if it is thick enough, spoon a small amount onto a saucer. Place saucer with jam into the freezer for 20 seconds. The jam should be gummy and jelly-like when it is removed from the freezer.
Do not cook for longer than 20 minutes or the pectin will begin to break down.
When the jam is cooked, remove from heat and stir in the almond extract. Pour into plastic containers and cool (leaving lids unsealed) for approximately 2 hours. Seal lids and freeze. The jam is ready to eat as soon as it is chilled. Thaw and store jam to be eaten immediately in the refrigerator.
Makes approximately 6 cups of jam
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