Apricot is one of those rare fruits that is sometimes disappointingly hard and doesn't taste quite good in it's raw form. But when cooked, it becomes a different story altogether. It releases such wonderful flavors which you wouldn't experience otherwise.
We all love to spread jams and preserves on our toasted bread throughout the year, don't we? and it's for this reason that I prefer to make jams with frozen and dried fruits. Till date I've made jams with frozen fruits like the sweet and tangy Raspberry jam, the delicious Strawberry jam and oh the Wild Blueberry preserve. However, this time I decided to experiment with dried fruit, apricot to be specific as I anyway had a packet lingering in my freezer.
Though apricot jam is entirely good on it's own, pairing it up with the citrusy and refreshing orange just makes it extra tasty, not to mention that both these flavors go really well together. I also added a tablespoon of lemon juice to balance the sweetness of the jam and also because lemon is natural pectin which helps in setting up the jam faster.
The best of all? As with all my other jams and preserves recipes, no pectin and canning required to make this delicious juicy jam at home! :)
Recipe Source: Bakingyummies
Makes two 250 ml jars / cans
400 grams / 14 ounces dried apricots
2 plus 1/2 cups / 625 ml / 21fl ounces drinking water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
zest of 1 large orange
juice of 1 large orange
100 grams / 3.5 ounces granulated sugar (you might need more or less depending on the sweetness of the apricots)
Soak the apricots in water at least overnight or up to 48 hours. Place a plate or a platter in the freezer.
Next day, in a non reactive large pan, tip in the apricots along with the water. Add the lemon juice, orange zest and orange juice and mix.
Cook the mixture on high flame until it starts boiling. Reduce the flame to minimum and cover the pan. Let cook for about 30 minutes or until the apricots are very soft and tender, stirring occasionally. At this point, if you like your jam to be chunky, move on to the next step. Else, use a masher to mash the apricots to very fine pieces (that's what I did).
Add the sugar and mix. After about 2 minutes have a little taste. If you want the jam to be sweeter, add more sugar a little at a time until you reach the desired sweetness. If the jam is too sweet to your liking, add a teaspoon or so of lemon juice. Also, at this point, you can add some more orange juice if you want to have some more orange flavor.
Increase the flame and let the mixture boil vigorously stirring continuously so that it doesn't stick to bottom of the pan. After about 5 to 6 minutes or once the mixture thickens a little, take the pan off the flame and check if the jam has set. To do this, remove the platter from the freezer and drop just a little jam on it. Tip the platter back in the freezer for just 2 minutes.
Remove the platter again and push the drop of jam gently with your index finger. If wrinkles are formed on the surface of the jam, it's cooked and has reached the setting stage. If not, then place the platter in the freezer again and cook the mixture for a minute or two more on high flame. Check again for the setting point on the platter.
Once the jam is ready, turn off the flame and after about 10 minutes, pour the jam in a sterilized air tight glass container till it's almost full. Screw tight the lid and once the jam is still a little warm, keep it in the fridge.
Storage Suggestions: The jam can be stored in the refrigerator for at least 3 months.
Enjoy your home made, preservative free Apricot and Orange Jam.
Happy Jamming without canning!!