I inherited some apricots this week. I didn't even know if we like apricots, but free is free and I thought I would give them a try. Some were really ripe and ready, and some had to sit for a few days to ripen nice.
I started out by just bottling some. It took me about 2 hours to peel and pit enough apricots to fill 6 quart jars. I just cold packed them, filled the jars, dumped in some sugar (1/4 to 1/2 cup to taste), pour boiling water to fill to the neck and processed them 30 minutes. I really didn't think that was very time effective for what I got out of it, and went to work looking for a better idea.
I came across a great Apricot/Pineapple Jam recipe....
3 cups prepared fruit (about 2 lbs fully ripe apricots)
1 can (20 oz) crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (I used real lemon juice from a bottle)
1 box MCP pectin
1/4 tsp butter or margarine
8 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl (I know lots of sugar -- Doug says that's what makes jam good!!!)
Bring boiling -water canner, half full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. (I like to run my jars through the dishwasher and keep them in there until I'm ready) Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain jars well before filling.
Chop finely or grind unpeeled and pitted apricots. Measure exactly 3 cups prepared fruit into 6 to 8 quart sauce pot. Add crushed pineapple and lemon juice. (I was told to put crushed pineapple into a food processor to grind a little more to reduce foaming. I had very little to no foaming. The only down side is you don't have very chunky jam.)
Stir pectin into prepared fruit in sauce pot. Add butter to reduce foaming. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar. Return to a full rolling boil and boil exactly 4 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.
Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 of rim of tops. (I just poured right from the pot to the jars, and I only filled to the neck, that gave me 5 pints for one batch.) Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 min. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middles of lids with finger. (If lids spring back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)
I prepared my fruit two different ways...
The first was-- pitting and peeling by hand, then mashing them with a potato masher. Takes longer but you get more chunky jam, that's a plus.
The second way was -- I went and purchased a Back to Basics Food Strainer & sauce maker. All I had to do was break the apricot in half remove the pit and throw it into the hopper. Turn the handle and out comes beautiful puree. The skin comes out the other end. I ran it through a couple of times to get all the good stuff and voila -- Apricot Sauce! The great thing about this was that the kids loved working it, so suddenly I had all sorts of help!!
I made 9 pints of jam the first way, and 10 pints the second way. I was concerned about the time it was taking to make and how far the apricots were going (3 cups isn't very much fruit). Also how expensive the pectin is. So I was trying to think of another way to preserve these apricots. I was looking through my ball canning book and came across the idea to make apricot sauce.
I just put my puree in a pot, added some sugar to taste (I put about 1 cup sugar to 4 cups puree) and some cinnamon (Emily's idea), brought it to a boil and poured it into my bottles. Put in water bath canner and processed for 30 minutes. It was quick and easy!!