The rules of Apricot Jam

I'm not very good at following rules. Walking all the way to the crosswalk on a quiet street seems ridiculous; so does the notion that shorting a jam recipe by half a cup of fruit should render it a gelatinous disaster. Across the board it's my 'I'm sure it'll be fine' attitude which prevails.

Apparently, though, things like forgetting to add pectin entirely (a la the strawberry jam fiasco of 2015) don't just work out. In fact, they can result in such long cooking times vanilla NEEDS to be added to cover up some of that caramel (burnt) flavour. 

And thus, to date my jam making has been acceptable rather than extraordinary. Never again. I'm learning, and so can you!


Ingredients

5 cups finely chopped apricots (feel free to just rip them up if you like a chunkier jam)

1 package pectin

4 tbsp lemon juice

7 cups granulated sugar


Directions

Seriously, the most difficult part of this process is being organized with clean counter space and ensuring your jars are sanitized. This recipe will fill 4 500ml mason jars so get those out and give them a good clean or put them through the dishwasher with their rings. You'll also want a clean tea towel out and a wooden cutting board or something you can place hot jars of jam on.

You'll need a canning pot out with enough water to cover your jars (standing up) by at least an inch. Fun fact: if you don't have a canning rack you can cover the bottom of your pot with mason jar rings (use different sizes so they fit in snugly) to keep your jars from touching the bottom and getting too hot.

No pot or desire to play with potential explosions? This jam also freezes well, so don't worry.

Combine the apricots, lemon juice, and pectin in a large, heavy bottom pot. Mix until the pectin is completely dissolved.

Bring the apricot mixture to a boil and add the sugar all at once. Stirring constantly, bring the jam back up to the point where you can't stir the bubbles down. Keep it there for one minute!

Now it's time to ladle jam into your clean and hot jars without scalding your fingers. I'm a huge fan of silicone oven mitts for this process because I can wash the mess off them easily after. Leave 1/4 inch of head space and make sure you wipe the rims clean or the lids won't seal properly! Place a clean, undamaged lid on each one and screw the rings on until they're "finger tight". Too loose and jam will leak out, too tight and the jars wont vent, leading to failed seals.

Place your jars into the canning pot, again making sure the water is covering them by an inch. Bring the water to a boil then start the timer for 10 minutes. When done, turn off the heat and leave the jars in the hot water for an additional 5 minutes. At this time remove them to a heat-stable surface like a tea towel or cutting board (not cold marble) and let them rest for 24 hours.

That looks like lots of steps, but most of them are me reiterating that everything needs to be clean and hot and to follow the correct cooking times. If any of your jars don't pop down and seal properly they're not shelf-safe. Put them in the fridge and use within a couple of weeks. Otherwise you have a year to enjoy these beauties!