Since we’re having the hottest summer weeks here in Germany, regular cooking and baking has been put on the back burner. While the plan foresaw a much, much slower pace, I still ended up spending countless hours in the kitchen. How did that happen?
Of course, the headline already gave it away – I’ve, once again, been on an extensive canning spree! With all the juicy stone fruits and plump berries available, one would be a fool to not stock up for those dreary winter months. So far I’ve done various strawberry jams (pure, with raspberries, with oranges, with red currants,…), my favorite sour cherry vanilla jam (“Weichsel”), apricot jam (recipe below), spicy tomato jam with peaches and peaches with mango. But still no slowing down in sight! And if you care to share your favorite jam in the comments, I might have to try yet another batch…
The following recipe for apricot vanilla jam can be used as a basis for all kind of fruits, just keep in mind, that you may have to adapt the amount of preserving sugar or pectin. While you may never experience any problems with your red currant jelly, pure strawberry jam may not want to set properly (high pectin fruit versus low pectin fruit).
Marisa, author of Food in Jars, nailed it, when she wrote:
“My very best advice is to try to learn to adapt, be flexible and exhibit some kindness to yourself, your preserves and the recipe writers who live in the same changeable world that you do.”
(from Canning 101: Learning to be Flexible)
Sterilizing the jars: Put clean and empty jars with separate screw lids in boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes. Carefully remove them (I use my BBQ tongs), place them on clean kitchen towels and fill them with the boiling hot jam immediately. Besides you could sterilize clean jars and lids in a hot oven at 110 °C (230 F) for 5 to 10 minutes before filling them with the jam.
Prepare the jam: Wash the apricots, leave to dry on a clean kitchen towel, then cut in half, remove the stone, cut into slices and put into a large pot. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and add them to the pot (you can add the bean, too), as well as the preserving sugar and the lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then keep boiling for 5 minutes (check the instructions on your preserving sugar), stirring regularly to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. Since I prefer my jam smooth and silky, I use my handheld blender to achieve an even consistency (be careful, the jam is hot! and don’t forget to remove the vanilla bean beforehand!). Drizzle some jam on a cold plate, it should set within a couple of seconds, otherwise keep boiling for some more minutes.
Fill the jars: Fill the sterilized jars with boiling hot jam using a funnel tube, if you own one, leaving about one centimeter of head-space. Try not to spill any jam on the edges, because it’s crucial to work as clean as possible. Close jar with the lid (a tea towel helps to protect your hands) and let cool completely. Store labeled jars in a dark and cool place – given a vacuum has developed – for up to one year.
Apricot Vanilla Jam
Recipe source: own creation
Prep time: ~30min.
Ingredients (yields ~1,5 l):
1 kg apricots
1 vanilla bean
fresh juice of 1/2 lemon
1 kg preserving sugar 1:1