I like breakfast time better than any other moment of the day. Add homemade apricot jam smeared onto toast with some salted butter and the morning gets even better. When you can take the time to enjoy even a quick slice of toast and jam in the morning with a few minutes of quietness to collet your thoughts, your day begins with a whole new level of peace. My ideal morning draws out this solitary time of breakfast and coffee for about 30 minutes but event 5 minutes can really affect your state of mind.
Sometimes I find it easy to write-off this breakfast time with thoughts running through my mind of all I have to do that day but then I quickly remind myself of a quote someone once told me… “There’s enough time in every day to do what God wants you to do.” That puts my mind back at ease and I’m ready to enjoy this time of peace and reflection over breakfast.
And speaking of therapeutic moments… the process of canning can be actually therapeutic as well. Not only do I feel good using up the fresh produce from the season but while I am making the jam, sterilizing the jars, and delicately following the ‘canning laws,’ I get to take my mind away from the stresses of the day and put all of my focus on this pot of fruit that’s going to be a flavor of my mornings all winter long.
How do your mornings start? Do you have a morning routine or time of quietness before your daily tasks resume?
- 2 1/2 pounds apricots, pits removed and set aside
- 2 cups raw sugar
- one lemon
- 1/2 a vanilla bean, seeds scraped out, or 2 tablespoons amaretto (optional)
- Slice the apricots into large chunks, leaving the skin on (no need to dice them up because they will cook down).
- Place the chopped apricots and sugar to a non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat stirring enough to assure none of the jam sticks to the bottom. The jam will bubble high up the sides, spoon off the light colored foam as it rises (save this to use over desserts or oatmeal). Continue to spoon off the foam until the jam begins boiling at a lower, thicker level.
- Using a potato masher, mash through the jam until it's to your preferred smoothness. I prefer my jam a bit on the chunky side but I did mash through the jam a few times to remove some of the large pieces of fruit.
- While the jam is cooking, put a small plate in the freezer. When the bubbles are subsiding and the jam seems to be thickening ever-so slightly, remove the pot from the burner. Put a few drops of the jam on the frozen plate and return to the freezer. Check the set after a few minutes by nudging it with your finger. If it wrinkles, it is done. If not, heat it a bit more and test again.
- When it has reached your preferred thickness add the vanilla bean seeds and pod, turn off the heat and let boil a minute more, then remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Remove the vanilla bean pod, rinse and set aside. Ladle jam into sterilized jars leaving a 1/4 to 1/2 inch at the top and seal as directed in manufacturer's instructions. Or you can freeze the jam if you're not going through the canning process.
I often add a few tablespoons of amaretto to my jam, which adds a little hint of sweet nuttiness.
If you can’t find apricots right now (I know it’s a little late in the season), you can also make this recipe using peaches. Here is my post on Rustic Peach Jam.