All About Canning: Apricot Amaretto Jam Recipe
It’s been a busy summer so far. I’ve been doing a lot of teaching which has been wonderful. One of my jobs is teaching teenagers how to cook through a new camp at the 92nd Street Y called Passport NYC Camps and the other was teaching for Dr. Oz’s non-profit HealthCorps for the third summer in a row. Teaching the teen camp cemented my belief that the key to better eating is refining the palate. By the end of each three-week session, my teens became food snobs – sub-par food and snacks just aren’t as appealing after being exposed to stellar home-cooking! More on that later….
I’m also excited to announce that my cookbook, Easy Meals to Cook with Kids, is nearly done! It should be on sale next month. I can’t wait to share it with you.
All these exciting things means that I haven’t had much time to blog! So, I decided to share a canning recipe with you from a terrific book, Well-Preserved by Eugenia Bone. There are lots of great canning books on the market – I recommend finding one that suits your needs and taste buds. I didn’t get this blog post up in time to support Canning Across America‘s annual summer event – but you can visit their site for more information about food preservation and how to host your own canning party.
This is an excerpt and recipe from Eugenia Bone’s, Well-Preserved. There are also some mouthwatering recipes for Figs in Brandy, Strawberry Balsamic Jam, Cherries in Wine, and Spiced Apples. I chose the apricot recipe because they are in season now. Eugenia not only shares her expert tips on how to preserve and can, she also includes wonderful recipes on how to cook with them throughout the year. What I like best about her book is that she writes her recipes like a cooking teacher – she explains things in the middle of the recipe and they are easy to follow.
I’m eyeing the Ricotta Balls Stuffed with Apricot Amaretto Jam and the Apricot Almond Shortbread…but first, here’s how to make the jam:
Apricot Amaretto Jam
“Of all the fruit jams and marmalades I make, this one is particularly versatile, I suppose because the apricot taste crosses the sweet and savory line with such finesse. It is equally good mixed into barbecue sauce or combined with whipped cream to make a fool. I have to confess I also prefer this jam because it is so easy to prepare the fruit; just split the apricots in half with a knife and flip out the pits. You don’t have to peel them, as the skins are tasty and delicate.
Apricots, which are available in Juy and August, are high in acidity, making this product safe for water bath processing. Because this recipe calls for a short water bath process, you have to sterilize the jars first. The citric acid will help hold the beautiful orange color of the fruit. The jars will keep in a coo, dark place for up to one year. If, after a few months, you notice the apriocts discolor at the top of the jar, don’t worry. This happens when excess air gets trapped in a jar, usually because of an air bubble or because there was too much headspace in the jar. If your seal is good, the food is fine.”
4 cups pitted and chopped apricots (about 3/4 pound)
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon citric acid (I use Fruit Fresh)
1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter
3 to 4 tablespoons amaretto
Combine the apricots, sugar, and citric acid in a large, heavy pot and heat over medium-low heat until sugar melts. Pay attention and stir often, because sugar burns easily. Once the sugar is melted, turn up the heat to medium and bring the apricots to a boil. Add the butter. Apricots tend to foam up as they boi, and if the foam spills over on to your stove youwill have quite a mess on your hands. Butter keeps the foam down. Skim off any foam that does form. Cook the apricots, uncovered, at a brisk but not riotous boil. After the first 5 minutes, you will notice that the apricots look thin and soupy. Keep boiling for 15 minutes longer. They will thicken up.
You are basically boiling off the water in the fruit. Stir periodically to make sure that the apricots don’t stick. Take the apricots off the heat and stir in the amaretto to taste.
Bring 4 half-pint jars and their bands to a boil in a large pot of water fitted with a rack. Boil for 10 minutes. The lids are only simmered in a small pan of hot water, to soften the rubberized flange. Remove the jars with tongs (the tongs don’t need to be sterilized). When the jars are dry but still hot, spoon the apricots into jar with a slotted spoon, leaving 1/2 to 3/4 inch headspace. (If your apricots were very juicy to start wtih, you may have extra juice. You can refrigerate it, or boil it down to a thick syrup and can the syrup the same way you do the jam. It is great poured over ice cream and pancakes.) Wipe the rims, set on the lids, and screw on the bands fingertip tight.
Place the jars in a big pot with a rack in the bottom. Add enough water to cover the jars by 3 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to medium and gently boil the jars for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, allow the jars to rest in the water for 5 minutes or so, and the remove. Allow the jars to cool, untouched, for 6 hours. Right away you will hear the popping sound of the vacuum seal as the jars cool down.
Check the seals. Store in a dark, cool place for up to a year. Refrigerate after opening.
Recipe from Well-Preserved by Eugenia Bone