While there are still stone fruits available at the farmer’s market, get yourself some and make some small batch jam.
I made up some apricot vanilla bean jam and it’s heavenly on homemade bread toasted with some fresh butter. I also used strawberries and added just a spoonful of edible lavender to flavor a batch of jam last month.
What I love about apricot and also peach jams is the tangy flavor. But other fruits are coming into season now, so the varieties will include blackberries and plums.
I don’t make a lot of jam, so I just keep mine in the refrigerator, but you can use a water bath to can your jams. Just refer to the instructions at this website: http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html
The following recipe works well with peeled, chopped peaches and plums too.
Apricot Vanilla Jam
About six 1 cup (250ml) jars
The general rule is to use three-quarters of the amount of sugar per one-part chopped apricots.
2 pounds (1kg) fresh apricots, cut in half, stones removed
1/2 cup (125ml) water
6 cups (1kg) sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
optional (1 tsp vanilla bean paste or brandy)
1. Place the chopped apricots in a very large stockpot, add the water and cover. Cook until the apricots are blending and becoming almost puree like. Stir often.
2. Stir in the sugar and continue to cook and stir till it thickens. About 20 minutes.
3. Test temperature if you have a candy thermometer. The temperature should be 220F.
4. Stir in your vanilla bean paste or brandy.
5. Place into canning jars and process or place in refrigerator for up to one year.
Anne Boulley is a local chef and culinary instructor with a passion for artisan foods. Her cooking classes and services are offered via her website, www.thegourmetguide.com.