Friday, July 3, 2009
strawberry apricot jam
I have no idea what came over me, but the other day I got home from an afternoon of hanging out with a friend and felt the need to make jam. Maybe it was the dreary weather, or the multiple quarts of fresh strawberries lurking in my kitchen (I eat as many in-season strawberries as is humanly possible to make up for all the tasteless ones I consume throughout the rest of the year). So I made jam.
Now, as a child, I helped my mother make dozens of jars of strawberry jam, after intensive strawberry-picking sessions. We would come home with flats and flats of berries, and since four people could not possibly eat that many pounds of berries, my mom made jam. Lots of it. And stored it in the freezer. It was bright red and sweet and delicious and is still my favorite jam of all time. And this jam, the one I made the other day, comes pretty close to the flavor of that jam.
I worked from a Barefoot Contessa recipe and adapted liberally. The apple adds natural pectin, the goo that holds jam together and gives it that nice glossiness. I threw in the apricot for a bit of tang to off-set the strawberry sweetness. And it's delicious. I might start eating it straight from the jar with a spoon. And am now scheming up a few dessert ideas to use it in, so stay tuned!
Strawberry Apricot Jam
adapted from Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics
make 3 cups
3 pints fresh strawberries
3 ripe apricots
3 cups superfine sugar (I used plain old granulated and it was just fine)
1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and finely diced
zest and juice of 1 orange
Rinse the strawberries. Drain and hull. Cut the larger ones in quarters, smaller ones in halves. Cut the apricots in half, remove pit, and cut into half-inch or so chunks. Place berries and apricots in a deep, heavy-bottomed pot and toss with sugar. Let macerate for 10 minutes or so.
Bring the berry mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Add the apple, orange zest and juice, and continue to keep the mixture at a rolling boil, stirring occasionally, until the jam reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer. This should take 25 to 35 minutes. Skim and discard any foam that rises to the top.
Allow mixture to cool to room temperature, then store covered in the refrigerator. The jam will keep at least 2 weeks. If you would like it to last a bit longer, pack and seal in canning jars according to the manufacturers instructions.