Apricot jam or preserves – a simple recipe for a flavorful and delicious jam that makes the most of one of the best summer fruit.
Apricot Jam without Pectin
A simple recipe for apricot jam using only three ingredients: apricots, sugar, and lemon. The result: a simple, fruity, and delicious spread.
I find apricot preserves to be the best choice for filling crepes. No strawberry preserves, not even some as good as this Rhubarb Strawberry Jam is better for crepes. You could make these French Crepes for example and fill them with apricots instead of rhubarb compote.
I love fresh apricots and I take advantage of this time of the year to make not only jam but also apricot compote. And I can quite a few jars every year, I love preserved apricots that need less sugar than the bought cans.
What to use instead of pectin?
- Pectin is what makes preserves set.
- Some fruits and berries (like apples, currants, or plums) have lots of pectin, while others (apricots included) have less.
- You could either add some pectin to help them set or use some lemon juice or rind to help with the setting process.
- Adding some apple peel or a chopped apple is also a good idea, just one apple will not interfere with the apricot taste and it will not be recognizable either once the jam is cooked, especially if you choose to puree it.
- Today the lemon juice is what helps the apricot preserves set. However, keep in mind that this particular jam is not sturdy, but rather soft.
What kind of pot do you need?
- Use a large, wide pot. The fruit-sugar mixture should only come one third up the sides of the pot.
- If you use a tall pot with a smaller diameter, the preserves will need much longer until they set.
How to know if the jam is set?
- There are several ways of testing.
- My most trusted one is placing one small plate in the freezer. When I think that the preserves should be ready, I drop one teaspoon of the mixture on the plate, let it for a couple of minutes, then push it with my finger. If it’s done, it should wrinkle and not flood back to fill in the gap you are creating with your finger. If it still does, continue cooking for a few more minutes then test again.
- Another way of checking is by observing the way the mixture boils. It will stop boiling so rapidly, it will be thicker and glossy. You can now start testing it.
- Do not fill the hot mixture into cold jars or the jars may shatter. Make sure that the sterilized jars are still hot when you fill them.
How to fill jam in jars?
- Use a soup ladle to fill the jars. Or pour some of it into a heatproof jug and then pour it into the jars.
- Buy yourself a canning funnel to fill the preserves in the jars (especially if not using a pouring jug). It costs almost nothing but it makes life so much easier. (Amazon affiliate link)
- And always think about protecting your hands and lower arms. The preserves often splatter during cooking, the sterilized jars are hot, and pouring the preserves into the jars should be done carefully.
How to sterilize jars?
- I have been using the same jars for years, most of them are recycled jars that used to contain something else. However, I always discard them when the lids are not OK anymore.
- If using specially bought jars for preserves, I buy new lids after using them two or three times in a row. Even if these special jars have different capacities, they always need lids of the same size.
- I always sterilize 2 or 3 more jars than I think I need, just to make sure I have enough ready.
- Wash the jars and lids thoroughly with soap and warm water before sterilizing them.
- Preheat the oven to 130 degrees Celsius/ 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the jars on a baking tray and put them in the oven for 20 minutes.
- In the meantime boil the lids for a few minutes in a small pot full of water. Drain in a colander and handle with care, they are hot.
Recipes using jam:
Orange Swirl Butter Cookies – easy to make rolled cookies.
Layered Cake with Walnuts – the famous Romanian Greta Garbo Cake.
Vegan Carrot Coconut Cake – a vegan twist on a carrot cake, soft and delicious.
Simple Apricot Jam and How to Sterilize Jars
- 2 kg/4.4 lbs apricots
- 1200 g/ 2.6 lbs/ 6 cups granulated sugar
- 1 lemon
- Clean the apricots and remove the stones. Quarter the apricots and place them in a large wide pot. Add the lemon juice and the sugar. Stir well and leave for 30 minutes.
- Place a small saucer in the freezer.
- Turn on the heat and bring to a boil, uncovered and stirring often. Check the time when the jam starts to boil rapidly and cook the jam for about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring very often and always scratching the bottom and the walls of the pan with the wooden spoon to make sure that the jam doesn't catch.
- The cooking time greatly depends on the pot you are using. The pan should be large, more wide than tall. The jam should not come more than one third up the side of the pan.
- Test if the jam is ready by pouring one teaspoon of it on the saucer from the freezer. Let it for a few moments, then push your finger through the jam on the saucer. If it wrinkles and it doesn't flood back to fill in the gap it is ready. When the jam is ready it should have a slightly darker color and the apricot pieces should be glossy. If the jam is not set yet continue cooking for further 2-3 minutes, then make the test again.
- You can blend the apricot jam with an immersion blender or leave it as it is. I like having some bits of fruit in my jam, so I tend to leave it as it is. Protect your hands and lower arms when doing blending the jam, it is very hot.
Sterilize the jars:
- Sterilize the jars and their lids while the jam is cooking. I needed four jars of about 400 ml/ 13.5 fl.oz and I had a bit leftover. It doesn't matter what size your jars are, use what you have, just make sure you sterilize enough of them. I always sterilize 2 or 3 more than I need, just to make sure I have enough ready.
- To sterilize the jars in the oven start by preheating the oven to 130 degrees Celsius/ 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wash the jars and the lids very thoroughly. Place the jars on a baking tray and put them in the oven for 20 minutes. In the meantime boil the lids in a small pot full with water, drain in a colander.
- When the jam is ready, fill the jars directly and immediately place the lids on top. The jars should still be hot when you fill them with the hot jam, otherwise, you run the risk of the jars shattering. And make sure you don't touch the jars with your bare hands, they are hot!
- Use a jam funnel to fill the jars, it really makes life easier. Screw the lids on top and let cool.