Apricots are round, yellowish-red fruit with velvety skin. It looks remarkably similar to peach but has the same tart level of plums, making apricots a perfect hybrid of peach and plum. This stone fruit produces a thick, syrupy juice similar to nectar. Apricot nectar has a thicker consistency than other fruit—making richer tartness than other peaches and plums.
Jam is a form of fruit preservation done using the edible part of the fruit, including its pulp. Slices of fruit may also be included in the actual jam, which gives extra texture and tartness to your food. Generally, fresh apricots are suitable for creating the best-tasting jam. However, dozens of apricot varieties are available in the market with varying flavor and texture profiles.
What Is the Best Apricot for Jam?
The best way to identify which apricot variant is ideal for jam-making is by checking its variants. Moorpark and Trevatt-raised apricots give a fantastic consistency and flavor to your jam. This light-colored fruit jam also gives beautiful, bright-colored jam. Although dark-colored jam is available in the market, the lighter ones are considered the best variant in terms of taste, presentation, and aroma.
Using the best apricot variety also provides a higher natural pectin content, making it set faster without adding different chemicals. Pectin is naturally found in citrus fruits. It is used to bind liquids to solid into a consistency similar to caramel. Natural pectin can be available on the fruit itself, but it can also be purchased commercially.
Commercially-made pectin is extracted from citrus fruits’ rinds and produced a white powder with a slight tinge of yellowish hue into it. Aside from a natural thickening agent, pectin can also work like soluble fiber since it can bind substances to your digestive tract—creating larger bulk of stools.
Using commercially-made pectin requires knowledge of the actual fruit. Placing too much pectin might produce a slightly bitter fruit jam, hardened jam. This may be fixed by reheating your fruit jam with water and fruit juice to reduce excess thickening. In an apricot jam, pectin is not necessarily needed since the juice and pulp itself are thick enough.
After selecting the suitable variant of apricot, allow the fruit to be cooked first until it reached your desired consistency. As soon as it arrives at the right texture, you may add your sugar. For chunkier apricot jam, you may mix the sugar with the apricot slices. This allows the fruit to stay on its whole pieces instead of breaking down into a hot mash.
Is It Necessary to Peel Apricots for Jam?
Apricot jam is the best way to keep this tasty drupe fruit for longer. Creating fruit preserves by bottling and canning has been commonly used for seasonal fruits like apricot. It also creates another layer of flavor dimension to your meal—creating better ways to consume your lovely meal. As soon as you’ve boiled your apricot to its desired texture, the next thing to consider is whether to retain the skin or not.
Apricot peel produces a neutral taste. It doesn’t affect the overall flavor of your jam. Natural pectin is also found on the fruits’ skin and can provide the right thickness to your fruit preserve. If you want to retain apricot skins, you may chop them up to prevent large chunks of peel to your fruit.
While some apricot variants have fuzz on their skin, it will not irritate your tongue as soon as it is cook. The soft fuzz on the apricot skin is edible and doesn’t impose any issues on your mouth. You can even prepare your apricot skin separately by mixing it with sugar and lemon zest. Add this candied apricot skin after cooking your fruit jam.
Retaining the apricot skin is also not the reason why your fruit jam turned dark. If you overheat your sugar or placed your fruit pulp mixture in high heat—it will scald your mixture. Scalded fruit juice may leave a brown residue on your jam which can alter the overall taste. To prevent this from occurring, you should mix your fruit juice on low heat.
In making jam as a form of food preservation, the sugar must be cooked at a specific temperature enough to melt but not too much to harden the actual fruit preserve. The easiest way to know if your fruit jam is ready is by doing the spatula test. If the jam is sticking and not dripping excessively, it is done.
How Long Does Homemade Apricot Jam Last?
Jam-making can prolong the shelf life of your fruit. If cooked right, your homemade apricot jam can last up to three months inside the fridge. Freezing your fruit jam will prolong its shelf life up to six months to a year. If you want to prolong the apricot jam’s shelf life without freezing it, you may use the canning method.
The canning method doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to seal your food preserves inside a can. You can seal your jam inside a mason jar and seal it further with the canning method. This method will also keep your apricot jam fresh for 18-24 months. To do this, you may follow these basic steps:
- Prepare your apricot jam ahead of time. Allow it to cool at room temperature.
- While the apricot jam is cooling, collect your mason jar. Make sure that the seal is tightly sealed and the glass has no traces of crack. Clean the mason jars thoroughly and dry them clean. Make sure that your mason jars are heat-proof.
- After cleaning, boil your jars in a hot water bath to sterilize them. Place your jars for three to five minutes to remove any trace of bacteria.
- Remove the jar from the hot water. Fill your jars with apricot jam, remaining a ¼ inch of space from the lid space. Seal your jars tightly and place a cloth band around the mouth.
- Place your jam-filled jars on the hot water bath filled with two inches of water. Allow your mason jars to be sterilized for about 15 minutes. Remove the jars inside the hot bath and allow them to cool overnight.
- Remove the cloth bands a day after to prevent the bands from rusting the jar’s mouth.