Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Jamming with the Apricots

There are a lot of rotten ones, but I can pick through it.

Posted on SLO Veg Facebook page:
"Holy Too Many Apricots ~ Help!!!
This past Friday we received a shipment of ripe ready to eat apricots that are too ripe to place in our box this week. We have 400 lbs / 14 cases to get rid of that would be excellent for making jam/chutneys/dessert or what have you with the ripe fruit. We need to move them quickly as they won't keep too much longer and would like to offer them to you for $10/cs for a 20 lb box. Saving's $25 - $30 at market. If you'd like to purchase a case or more please show up to our shop @ 747 Woodbridge Street in SLO this week Tuesday - Friday between 9:30 - 12:00 to pick up. Cash only please as we'll be giving back to our farmer for his loss."

I went on a mission this morning to save some apricots from extinction because the apricots I received in my previous box were awesome! I trekked down to SLO Veg to pick up a case of of apricots before they went completely bad. As you can see from the picture of the apricots in the carton, it was a mercy mission. Most of the fruit at the bottom corner of the box was completely mush.
I rushed the box into the kitchen and tried to resuscitate as much fruit as I could. I had a dump pail so I just sorted through the fruit, picking out the squishy, moldy, guishy stuff and putting the reasonably good fruit into a sink filled with water and vinegar.
It was about half and half of what I thought I could save versus what definitely had already served it's life span. I took the dump bucket out and poured it on top of the compost pile. Then I went through all the fruit in the sink, one apricot at a time. I cut into it and plucked out the pits, putting the good fruit into a strainer and the too-blemished parts into another dump bucket.
When I was about halfway through, I rinsed the fruit and diced it up smaller pieces and measured out 6 cups. I place that into a big pot on the stove added 6 cups of sugar and a quarter cup of lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of fruit pectin. Then I began to cook it down into Jam. Multitasking all the way, I put the jars in the dishwasher and ran it through a cycle to sterilize them. Another pot of water was cooking on the stove so that I could sterilize the lids and yet a third pot of water was boiling for the hot water bath at the end.
Mmmmmm.... The delicious aroma of ripe apricots was bringing back memories of my childhood. My mom was a city girl and she made attempts at canning food, but her crowning success had to be her apricot-pineapple jam. She made it every year using the fruit form our three apricot trees. Honestly, it was that about the only food she canned that I would eat. Her canned tomatoes always look like a weird science project and I wouldn't touch them!
Some are so perfectly ripe, they will make the best jam!
My tiny kitchen in full-jam mode.
 Finished produce complete with labels. Now that's a beautiful sight! On a good note, Rachael from SLO Veg posted that they had sold all 14 cases this morning, so the farmer would get a little recoup on his crop. I am so glad I could help and even if I didn't get a lot of sleep today, it was really fun to make some jam!
My sister-in-law asked for my recipe: hahaha....you would laugh because I deviated a bit. I used part of the recipe that came in my last box of pectin, then read the Ball canning book recipe, and kind of combined it. Basically, it was 6 cups fruit, 6 cups sugar, 3 tablespoons powdered pectin, and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Not sure if I needed to, but I boiled it for about 10 minutes.
I guess if you boil it til it gets thick, you can make it without pectin. If you use pectin, the directions say to bring it to a hard boil for one minute.
Look at this golden deliciousness! My mommy would be proud!

Flash freezing before dumping into freezer storage bags.
they won't be here for long...I sense a pie in the making!

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