With vanilla bean and a dash of brandy, this simple apricot jam will be the new beautiful jewel of your pantry.
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Every year, I look forward to the short window that is apricot season. As soon as I start seeing these sunny gems appearing en massee at the market, I re-arrange all my cooking plans and work a batch of jam into my schedule for the week. Most markets don’t stock them regularly, and you never know when you’ll see enough (at a reasonable price) to make the next batch.
While berry jams are a common crowd-pleaser, a simple apricot jam is even more versatile. Add to cheese boards and thumbprint cookies for something sweet, or mix with a bit of mustard and salt for a luscious glaze on chicken and pork. The latter is honestly my favorite use of apricot jam (as seen in this recipe for stuffed pork tenderloin), but Sam loves it best on some simple toast with his breakfast eggs.
Not to mention, the translucent color is stunningly beautiful.
As apricots start appearing on the shelves this summer, take advantage of the jewel-like bounty and make yourself a batch of this delicious jam. You’ll have a spot of sunshine all year long.
Take advantage of this summer’s produce with these other jam and preserve recipes:
- Spiced Blueberry Jam
- Raspberry Cherry Lime Jam
- Fig & Plum Jam
- Mixed Berry Bourbon Jam
- Candied Jalapeno Slices
- Bourbon Soaked Cocktail Cherries
New to preserving? Here are some great resources to get you started:
- A couple of my favorite books to learn the basics:
- Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round by Marisa McClellan
- Saving the Season by Kevin West
- Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving by Judi Kingry
- A simple Home Preserving Kit
- A Large Non-Reactive Pot, like an enameled Dutch Oven (Le Creuset and Lodge both offer options) or a stainless steel jam pot.
- A pot for processing the jars in a water bath – you can use a true water bath canner and rack or a large stainless steel stock pot with a handy blossom trivet in the bottom.
Brandied Apricot Jam
With vanilla bean and a dash of brandy, this simple apricot jam will be the jewel of your pantry.
- 3 pounds ripe apricots, pitted and diced
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons brandy
Sterilize the jars and lids as per proper procedure.
In a large bowl, stir together the diced apricots and sugar. Scrape the caviar from inside the vanilla bean, stir, and tuck the whole pod into the mixture. Let this this macerate for at least an hour, or covered in the fridge overnight.
Now that its nice and juicy, pour the apricot-sugar mixture into a wide non-reactive pot. Stir in the lemon juice and bring the mixture to boil over medium heat. Simmer and reduce the jam for up to half an hour, stirring often to keep the fruit from burning at the bottom of the pan.
When the consistency of the jam passes your preferred gel test, stir in the brandy and let the mixture boil hard for another 3-5 minutes to bring it back to gel set.
Remove the pan from heat, and spoon the apricot jam into prepared jars, leaving ½ inch head space. Discard the vanilla bean pod. Wipe the rims of the jars clean, apply the lids, and process in a boiling water both for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the jars to a folded kitchen towel and let sit, undisturbed, for 24 hours. Store sealed jars in a cool, dark place and put any unsealed jars in the fridge to be used first.
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