I've been wearing out the tread on my tires running back and forth across town to hit the orchards the last couple of weeks. The fruit is ripe and ready to be picked on all the trees around here. Not one to let a good thing get away, I've been trying to use as much of it as I can before it's gone.
I was at one of my favorite stands when they told me there would only be another week or so to pick apricots. After I composed myself from my complete panic, I grabbed 3 more pounds for a quick batch of jam. I have been experimenting with different flavors and combos this year and one of these experiments apricot with garam masala turned out to be one of my favorites.
I must have a jam making aura about me or something, I was in the checkout line of my local market when the checker said, "You are buying lids, you must be making jam". He then peppered me with jam making questions. I gave him a quick run through of how to make jam and thought to myself, maybe others don't know how or maybe they think it's harder than it really is.
Apricot and Garam Masala Jam
3 pounds fresh apricots
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. garam masala
2 tablespoons powdered low-sugar pectin
You will need a few other items also. I used 4 - 8 oz. size jelly jars and 2 - 4 oz. minis, make sure you have lids and bands. Last year I bought a kit that included this handy basket that you place in the hot water and jar lifting tongs. I know I whined about having too much cooking equipment in the last post, but I'm sticking by this purchase.
Peel the apricots and cut them into smaller pieces, place them in a large saucepan, add the sugar, lemon juice, and garam masala. Turn heat on to medium-high and bring to a boil then turn heat down to medium-low, now add the pectin. You want it bubbling but not a hard boil or your sugar could scorch. Continue to cook for 20-25 minutes until the fruit is broken down and the mixture is really thick. It should slowly drip off your spoon, not run off.
While the jam is cooking fill a large stockpot 3/4 of the way with water and bring the water to a boil.
Once the water is boiling place the clean jars and bands in (but not the lids) for 5-10 minutes. Rinse the lids off with hot water. Remove the jars and bands and set aside to cool a bit.
Skim any foam off the top of the jam that forms. Once the jam is nice and thickened place it into warm jars leaving 1/4" of space on the top. Wipe rims of jars and place lids and bands on top of each jar and place in the boiling water for 10 minutes. If you don't have a handy basket like this, place a metal rack at the bottom of your pot to suspend the jars.
Make sure the jars are covered with boiling water by an inch or so. If not add some boiling water from a tea kettle.
Remove the jars from the hot water and let sit on the counter, as they cool you will hear the lids go pop, pop, pop; this means they are sealed properly. If the lids don't pop (or depress) that means the jars aren't sealed, you can try putting them in the hot water for another five minutes.
The garam masala adds a nice lingering finish to the jam and I used less sugar because my fruit was ripe and had a lot of natural sugar already.
Lisa the Authentic Suburban Gourmet, who loves making jam too has a great recipe here you might want to try.
Lisa wanted to know where to find the green basket. I bought mine at a local Target, but I did find an online source so you can order one for yourself. I have the Ball Canning Discovery Kit and the Utensil Set here is the link for you.