First, the tragedy: my favorite peach vendor has stopped coming to the farmer’s markets!!
You have to understand: I’ve been buying peaches from him for ten years. When he left the Mountain View farmer’s market, I followed him to the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Market, even though it meant an 80-mile round-trip every week to get there. His peaches were that good. Now I’m bereft. No more fabulous peaches for me; I’ll have to make do with lesser fruit from other vendors. Dang. I don’t know how I’m ever going to eat a peach again. *sigh*
That said, I haven’t let that slow me down much in the way of fruit acquisition. I haven’t yet gotten over my peach-and-nectarine shock, but apricots, apriums (3/4 apricot, 1/4 plum), and pluots (1/4 apricot, 3/4 plum) are in the market, including the Flavor Rosa pluot, which I adore. (I love any plum derived from the Santa Rosa, which I consider the apex of plumdom. I find most plums too sweet and bland…the Santa Rosa has an edge of acidity and a strongly fruity fragrance that I find irresistible.)
This week I bought a case (20 lbs) of apricots and proceeded to make apricot jam…a very simple recipe:
- 15 lb apricots
- 2 cups orange-blossom honey (don’t skimp on quality: the quality of the honey will be the quality of your jam)
- 8 500-mg Vitamin C tablets
- 1/3 cup water
- 4 cups sugar
- 3 packets of no-sugar pectin (really, it’s xanthan gum, but who’s telling? 😉 )
- Canning jars sufficient for ~2 gallons of jam
Pit and slice each apricot into eight sections. Powder the vitamin C tablets (make sure to taste one first to make sure it doesn’t have unpleasant-tasting fillers in it) and mix with 1/3 cup water. Mix with the honey. Pour over cut apricots, add sugar, mix well, and set aside for a few hours. The sugar and honey will draw the juice out of the apricots. The Vitamin C will keep them from browning, although if you prefer, you can also buy anti-browning stuff at the supermarket. I’m cheap, so I use Vitamin C.
Take a set of canning jars and put them in a boiling-water bath inside a large canner pot. Put lids in a saucepan. (Follow directions with the canning jars). If you can’t fit enough canning jars into the boiling-water bath, do the jam in two batches.
In a very large pot, or in two batches (the mixture should not come up more than 1/3-1/2way up the pot), mix the apricot-sugar-honey mix with the no-sugar pectin. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and boil hard for one minute. Ladle into jars and seal following the instructions that came with the jars (or the no-sugar pectin packets).
This jam goes GREAT over vanilla ice cream. 🙂
Mike has been talking about making a big batch of pie crust and making peach pies. I think that sounds like a GREAT idea. Yum!
We will probably also make strawberry jam in the coming months…