Have you ever found yourself in a jam when it comes to changing up your daily breakfast? If you’re tired of your usual toast toppings, homemade apricot jam might just be what you need to brighten up your morning routine.
Read on for my favorite easy apricot jam recipe!
Fresh apricots (5-6 lbs.)
To start off your apricot jam right, you’ll of course need fresh apricots! Most people recommend choosing fruit that has only just ripened; over or underripe fruit makes for a poor jam. You can tell whether apricots are ripe or not by squeezing them; if they’re hard, they’re underripe, and if they’re squishy, they’re overripe. You want a firm fruit with just a bit of tenderness when you press down on them. You can also test them by smell; if the fruit gives off a flowery scent, they’re ripe and ready to fill up your jam jars!
Lemon juice (1/4 cup)
Lemon juice adds an extra hint of citrus flavor, as well as keeping the jam from turning brown in the jar.
Sugar (9 cups)
Sugar is an absolutely crucial ingredient in jam. It’s used to encourage the pectin—a type of fiber in fruits that helps jam set properly—to do its job, as well as to counter the sour flavor of the pectin. Sugar also works in tandem with lemon juice to keep your jams preserved, giving them a longer shelf life.
How to Make Apricot Jam
Put two small ceramic plates or bowls (not plastic) in the freezer. This will be important to check if the jam is done later on.
I promised a no-canner recipe, and it’s a promise I plan to keep, but you’ll still need to heat your jars before filling them with jam! You can achieve this by “baking” the jars in the oven at 270 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Wash and halve the apricots and remove the stones (pits). For this recipe, you should have about 45-60 apricots, or somewhere between 5-6 pounds of apricot.
Place apricot halves into a large saucepan with ¼ cup of lemon juice and ¼ cup water. Turn heat up to medium and allow to come to a simmer, stirring every couple minutes.
Cover pan and allow apricots to stew, stirring every 30 seconds to a minute until apricots are soft and fully cooked. This should take about 12-15 minutes.
Take your pan off the heat to blend. While you could use an ordinary blender to puree your apricot mixture, it’s a dangerous and irritating endeavor when the mixture is fresh off the stove, and it can be too time-consuming as you’ll likely have to do one portion at a time. You don’t want to risk spilling this sticky substance on yourself, especially when it’s hot! I strongly suggest using an immersion blender for quick and easy results.
Add the sugar and stir until it dissolves completely. Do not return the pan to the heat until the sugar dissolves.
Once fully combined, return the pan to the stove and turn up the heat! Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pan to avoid any scalding. Watch carefully and pay attention as the moisture in the mixture begins to cook off. (At this point, you might notice some “scum” appearing at the top of the mixture. This isn’t something to be concerned about—simply skim with your spoon and discard.)
When the mixture begins to thicken (about 20-25 minutes of boiling should do the trick), switch off the burner and set the pan aside. Take one of the ceramic plates or bowls out of the freezer and set on the counter, then spoon out a bit of jam onto the dish. Allow to cool for about a minute, then test with your finger. If your jam sample wrinkles beneath your touch, it’s ready to go! If it doesn’t wrinkle, place the mixture back on high heat to boil for a few more minutes. After that, go ahead and test again until you achieve wrinkles! This is a sign the jam will set.
Once your jam wrinkles, turn off the heat and move your pan off the burner. Let it sit for about 10 or so minutes so the fruit sifts evenly throughout the mixture.
Only one step to go! Give your jam one last stir and then begin spooning it into your prepared heated jars. Seal up the jars and put them aside to allow them to set—this process can take about two days. Once set, make sure you label the jars with the date that you made the jam! You’ll want to keep track of its shelf life.
If for whatever reason you prefer not to use lemon juice, you can swap it out for lime juice. The two serve the same purpose in the recipe (keeping the jam from browning) with minimal shift in flavor, and neither serves this function better than the other, though lemon juice is the more popular choice.
Pectin determines how thick or runny your jam is going to be when it’s finished. Higher pectin content results in a thicker jam, while lower pectin results in a thinner spread. It’s why apples—a high-pectin fruit—result in thicker jellies and jams, while lower-pectin fruits like strawberries tend to have a less composed structure. Apricots are fairly middling when it comes to pectin levels, so you can make jam out of them without additional pectin just fine; however, if you prefer thicker jam, you might want to add some additional pectin.
Salt and Spices
While salt isn’t strictly a necessary ingredient for a sweet jam, it can add an extra dimension to the flavor profile if you’re willing to try something a little different. Some recipes also suggest adding a hint of cinnamon for some extra flavor.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Adding sugar over heat
If you add in the sugar to the mixture over heat without dissolving first, you run the risk of the sugar either burning (you do not want the smell of burned sugar lingering in your kitchen, believe me!) or not mixing in thoroughly.
Leaving jam unrefrigerated
After using your jam for the first time, just like storebought jam, you want to make sure you refrigerate the open jars to extend their shelf life as long as possible!
Other Recipes to Pair Your Apricot Jam With
There are countless ways to enjoy your homemade apricot jam, from topping your yogurt to spread it on your toast, but I recommend adding it to some homemade croissants, blueberry pancakes, or whatever bread you use for your favorite toast!
Treat Yourself to Apricot Jam
What do you plan to spread your new favorite jam on first? Have you made other sorts of jam before? Did I miss a favorite tip or trick of yours? Let me know in the comments below!
Excited for more apricot content? Then check out my apricot page for more info guides, growing tips, recipes, and more!
- About the Author
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Cassidy Eubanks is a proud Michigander, an avid reader, a lover of colorful gardens, and a writer for Minneopa Orchards.
After earning her bachelor’s in Creative Writing (partially through virtual learning, thanks to the pandemic), gardening gave her an excuse to get outside and get away from all the screens. With a particular love for decorating with colorful flowers, using herbs grown in her own garden, and finding creative ways to build big gardens in small spaces, Cassidy enjoys helping others learn about growing their own food, flowers, and trees through Minneopa Orchards!