Apricot Jam, and some time to let your mind wander

To make apricot jam, the method and ingredients are very simple: sugar, water, lemon juice, and apricots that get pitted just by splitting them open with your hands. But the process does require a heaping portion of…you. An hour’s worth of your hand stirring to prevent scorching and your patience waiting for the fruit and sugar to cook properly. Take this as an opportunity to chew on some daydreams you’ve been wanting to have. A mind needs time to wander, don’t you think? Or you can hoist yourself up on the counter and sit there listening to your mother while she stirs the pot, like I did.

Homemade Apricot Jam on toast with labneh

 

Maureen: What kinds of trees did you have in your yard growing up in Ohio?

Mom: We had a mulberry tree, we had a quince tree, we had an apple tree—a huge apple tree. We had a cherry tree, and of course we had an apricot tree. My grandparents, who had lived next door, had a pear tree in their yard. I never knew them because they died before I was born. But my sisters said that when they went over to her house, my grandmother told them to stand right there in the doorway and not to go any farther. She had nice oriental rugs and a shiny floor, I guess.

Not much of a grandmother.

No. So we had a lot of fruit and we ate all of our own fruit. My mother canned everything she could get her hands on, and she just never sat down. She used to core and freeze the coosa. She made a lot of fatayar and put them in the freezer so she could pull them out for company. She used to use purchased biscuit dough, roll them out, and put the filling in. They were very flaky and good. That was later on; when she was younger she did everything from scratch. I remember her beating and beating and beating an angel food cake to fluff the egg whites. All by hand. I’d stand there and she’d say, “Put the sugar in. Now put more sugar in. Now put more sugar in.” She had a big balloon whisk.

Funny, that’s exactly how we learned to do it in cooking school. Do you want to sit down now?

Oh, I don’t sit too much. My mom always put paraffin on top of the jam to seal it. We’re not doing that. We don’t need to seal anything. Just simple; make it and refrigerate it and eat it. You can also freeze it, and we should make more so we can have some during the winter. I love apricot jam the best. I always have strawberry and those others, but they pale. They just pale in comparison.

These apricots are going nicely honey. It’s doing it, it’s getting thick and it’s still chunky. That’s what it’s all about, getting a nice big piece of the fruit on your toast so you can really taste it.

Apricot Jam

Maureen Abood
The sweet-tart flavor of apricot jam goes outrageously well with something creamy, like labneh (or cream cheese, or ricotta, or...you get the picture) on toast made from really good bread.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds apricots
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Instructions
 

  • Pit the apricots by splitting them between your thumbs and removing the pit.
  • In a heavy medium saucepan, add the sugar and water and stir just to combine. Cook over medium heat until the sugar has melted and the mixture begins to simmer.
  • Add half of the apricots and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer over low heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon until the apricots are very soft and falling apart, about 1⁄2 hour.
  • Add the rest of the apricots and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer over low heat again, stirring frequently until the mixture thickens and the apricots have softened but some pieces still remain, another 1⁄2 hour.
  • Taste. Depending on how tart the preserves are, and how tart you like it, add 1 tablespoon or more of lemon juice.
  • Let the mixture cool for 15 minutes, then ladle into clean jars. Cover and refrigerate. These preserves should be kept refrigerated rather than on the pantry shelf.

 

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28 Comments

  1. Rosemary Abowd Schwendler on August 24, 2011 at 8:57 AM

    Maureen!
    I remember making these preserves with
    Grandma one summer. Seems like I pitted a lot
    more than 2 lbs of apricots. I recall a bottomless
    bushel basket! Absolutely the best!
    Love to you and Aunt Maryalice!
    Rosemary

    • Maureen Abood on August 24, 2011 at 10:33 AM

      Wonderful memory Rosemary!! Thanks for sharing. I bet Grandma’s were so delicious, right from her own tree. xo–

  2. Patti Markho on August 24, 2011 at 9:22 AM

    I love the interview with Mama Abood. She sounds as sweet as those apricots!

    • Maureen Abood on August 24, 2011 at 10:33 AM

      You know it!

  3. Geralyn Lasher on August 28, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    Okay–it is ridiculous how good this tastes!!! Mom and I just made it and she is thrilled with it!

    • Maureen Abood on August 28, 2011 at 11:18 PM

      I am so thrilled you made the apricot preserves!! I made another big batch this weekend, crazy delicious!

  4. Karine Keldany on November 8, 2011 at 7:01 AM

    Yum, looks amazing and really delicious. Do you know by any chance how to make “Amar El Din”. Arabic dried apricots rolls? Or the apricots pudding that is eaten cold? I moved for a year from Montreal (Canada) to the Dominican Republic and would love to make some. I am carving Lebanese food like crazy. 🙂
    Thanks.

    • Maureen Abood on November 9, 2011 at 6:52 AM

      I love “Amardin” and have not made it, but looked into the method last summer. Maybe we’ll try it next year when the apricots are back–soooo delicous. I often buy amardin and I bet homemade would be excellent.

  5. Karine Keldany on November 8, 2011 at 2:09 PM

    Maureen, if you sterilize the pots can the preserves be kept at room temperature?

    • Maureen Abood on November 9, 2011 at 6:51 AM

      Yes, sterilize the jars and they will have shelf life. Just be sure there is a seal on the lid (indicated by a popping sound when you open the jar).

  6. Elaine Archer on August 1, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    Maureen, I used your recipe when given too many apricots to eat from the tree of the “other grandma” of my grandsons. Absolutely delicious!! In fact, I think I’ll go make toast to put some on right now.

    • Maureen Abood on August 1, 2012 at 1:13 PM

      That’s great Elaine! I can’t wait for apricots up here…I’m ready for jam!

  7. Audrey on August 8, 2013 at 8:56 AM

    In South Africa we usually crack a few of the pips, blanch the nuts to remove the skin and add them at the end. Adds a lovely almonds flavour.

  8. Judy on September 2, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    I used to make apricot jam. 3 kilo apricots 3 kilo sugar? Not sure if that’s rights and 3 lemons for it to set. Actually I made jam out of every fruit except apples and pairs. I’d bought a new fridge but kept the old one and it was full of jams the wholeyyear round. I made grape jam that over set and when my parents came from England I made my dad finish it before he could try anything else. Poor daddy. Sorry. I must’ve bored you.

    • Maureen Abood on September 2, 2013 at 5:55 PM

      Judy I love your story! I’m sure yours is delicious; you use a little more sugar than I do, and more lemon too.

  9. Clayton Strasser on June 21, 2015 at 1:44 PM

    My Great grandmother (Nana ) always made apricot preserves like this. And I just finished making them. The wonderful aroma of the apricots simmering brought back wonderful childhood memories. Thank you so much!

    • Maureen Abood on June 25, 2015 at 9:12 AM

      So special! I will be making apricot preserves again soon too!

  10. Karl von Rosenberg on July 24, 2015 at 8:50 PM

    I found no mention of the skins. Do you remove them?

    • Maureen Abood on July 27, 2015 at 1:29 PM

      Nope! Just leave the the skin on for added flavor and texture.

  11. Irene on August 3, 2015 at 1:37 PM

    how long will these preserves last in the fridge? and can they be frozen?

    • Maureen Abood on August 6, 2015 at 10:29 AM

      I’ve had them last as long as a year myself in the refrigerator, but a couple of months at least. I have not frozen the apricot jam but I suspect it would freeze just fine!

  12. Ann on November 5, 2015 at 2:59 PM

    How much does this make? 2lbs of apricots seems like a lot more than I need…

    • Maureen Abood on November 12, 2015 at 11:24 AM

      Ann, this makes about 2 pints, which around here is gone fast!

  13. Bojana on July 26, 2016 at 10:35 AM

    Nothing makes me think of childhood more than apricot jam! All the women from my family made ot every summer, grandma, mom and now I make it for my family. We love it!
    In Serbia we have a way to preserve preserves and it stays in the pantry for more than a year sometimes. You wash and dry the jars and lids, put them in the oven on 130 C to sterilize, and you pour hot jam into hot jars the minute it is over with the cooking. Then you put opened jars back in the oven for 15 minutes just to heat the top of the jam more. Then close with hot lids from the oven. Put all jars one by another, wrap them all in a blanket or big, chubbby towel and let it cool slowely for two days, untill it is at room temerature. And then it can stay on a shelf for a long, long time
    I love your story and the pics
    All the best,
    Bojana

    • Maureen Abood on July 29, 2016 at 7:35 AM

      Beautiful, just beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

  14. Helen Corey on August 26, 2016 at 6:25 PM

    My sister-in-law makes this wonderful jam for us. And she saves the pits for my husband. He soaks them in water and cracks them open to extract the seed, which looks like a small almond. A very time consuming job. He fries the seeds in a little oil or butter until they’re slightly browned. Then he gives them to me. It’s a labor of love on his part. He grew up in Telkeif, a small farming village near Mosul, Iraq. They never wasted anything there!!!

  15. M Thompson on March 31, 2017 at 12:56 PM

    I just tried your recipe and it smells wonderful. I’m waiting for it to cool to taste.

    I have a question for you. We had a lot of apricots and ‘life’ happened last year, so I had to put them in the freezer whole. This time I let them thaw, removed the seed then tried to squeeze as much of the pulp as I could off of the skin.

    Do you think the skins would be ok to leave on even after they had been frozen (I have several more bags to do)? Thank you for any thoughts. We won’t get any this year, a late frost took care of all the fruit. maybe next year!

    • Maureen Abood on April 1, 2017 at 3:10 PM

      I keep the skins on for the preserves, so your frozen apricots ought to work great, with the pit removed! I’m jealous…

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Maureen Abood in the kitchen

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