Small-batch Apricot Jam

apricot jam 1200

Apricots are one of my favorite fruits, and they’re hard to come by here in SE Michigan. I haunt farmers markets, looking for a grower, and when I find one, I tend to grab some apricots. I always make a little jam: begin with just a bit of fruit, get a few jars – and it’s so quick! Start to finish, this small-batch apricot jam took me less than an hour. Here’s how to make a small batch when you’re pressed for time or just want less.

Mostly I make simple jam: fruit, sugar, lemon juice. This one, though, gets enhanced with a goodly slug of apricot brandy. The alcohol boils off while I cook the jam, but the intense flavor is left behind. This jam tastes like the essence of sunshine.

For detailed information on the jam-making and preserving process, see my post on how to make jam. I tend to use my favorite pot for this batch, though anything you have that’s wider than tall, and which is heavy enough that the bottom won’t scorch, will do just fine.

start with the apricots

Rinse the apricots (of course). Pit and quarter them, but don’t bother peeling. Put in a non-reactive pot with the lemon juice and apricot brandy (if using). Add the sugar, stir gently, and let stand about 10 minutes, while you get the jars ready.

prep the jars

Speedy processing tip: start your big pot of water to boil NOW. Put empty jars in the water, let it come to a boil, and boil for at least 10 minutes to sterilize the jars. When that’s done, take the jars out, and upend them on a folded towel.  By the time the jars are ready, the jam will be ready to put in them.

Wash the lids in warm water and set aside. Keep the bands handy. Put a saucer or small plate in your refrigerator to chill (this will be for testing doneness.) Have an extra small jar, or custard cup, clean and ready for any excess.

simmer the apricots

While the empty jars are coming to a boil, cook the jam: add the butter (it reduces foaming), and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat somewhat and simmer it  until the chunks of apricot are thoroughly cooked. Blitz the preserves with an immersion blender – this will create a uniform texture, and will help the jam cook faster.

cook until thick

Bring the preserves to the boil again, stirring often, and cook until it passes a jelly test. I like to test for doneness by putting a spoonful on a saucer, and chilling it in the refrigerator for 2 minutes. After that time, if I can drag my finger through the jam, and leave a clear track that doesn’t fill in again, it’s ready.  In my kitchen today, this took about 10 minutes more. Remove from heat.

seal in boiling waterbath

Ladle into clean jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Seal and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Cool jars, label, and store in a dark cool place.

apricot jam 1200

Small-batch Apricot Jam

Course: Jams and Jellies
Cuisine: American
Keyword: jam, apricot, small batch
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
processing time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Take a little fruit and make a small batch of jam
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • lb apricots
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp Marillenlikor or dry apricot brandy (optional)
  • ½ tsp unsalted butter (to reduce foaming)

Instructions

  • Rinse the fruit (of course). Pit and quarter the apricots but don’t bother peeling them. Pit the cherries and cut them in half. Put both in a non-reactive pot (I use this 4-qt one) with the lemon juice and sugar. Combine gently, and let stand while you start to get the jars ready.
  • Speedy processing hint: start your big pot of water to boil NOW. By the time the jars are ready, the jam will be ready to put in them.
    If you use a steam canner, just set it up and start the water heating; keep it warm but not boiling.
  • Meanwhile, prepare jars and any other equipment. Make sure your jars are sparkling clean. Wash the lids in warm water and set aside. Keep the bands handy. Have an extra small jar, or custard cup, clean and ready for any excess jam. Put a couple of small saucers in the freezer to chill so they’ll be ready for testing the jam.
  • Cook the jam: add the butter (it reduces foaming), and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat somewhat and simmer it until the chunks of fruit are thoroughly cooked. Blitz the preserves with an immersion blender – this will create a uniform texture, and will help the jam cook faster.
  • Return the preserves to the heat, and continue cooking, stirring often, until it bubbles and looks quite thick. I like to test for doneness by putting a spoonful on a saucer, and chilling it in the refrigerator for 2 minutes. After that time, if I can drag my finger through the jam, and leave a clear track that doesn’t fill in again, it’s ready.  In my kitchen, this took about 10 minutes more.
  • When the jam is ready, remove the pot from the heat. Ladle jam into prepared jars, wipe rims, and apply lids and bands. Anything that won’t fit in your four jars can go into the clean custard cup and chill it in the fridge.
  • Wipe the jar rims, apply lids and bands, then process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Cool jars, label, and store in a dark cool place.

Notes

The alcohol in the brandy is boiled away during the cooking, leaving only intense flavor behind. I use Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot Liqueur, or, when I’ve been abroad, Bailoni Gold Marillenlikor, and no others.

2 Comments

  1. This sounds great! And I love that it’s a small batch, since my two-person household could never finish much more than this.

    • I’ve scaled back my jam making to mainly small or even tiny batches, now that we’re a two-person household again. I didn’t want to abandon homemade jam, just make less of it!

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Welcome

I’m Maurita Plouff, and I write about cooking and preserving the local harvest in Southeast Michigan. Any recipe you find here is something I have cooked myself, and enjoyed, and think you might like too. I invite you to try the recipes, and leave comments.

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