2 cups condensed apricot juice (about 10 cups fresh apricots reduced to 2 cups concentrated juice)
8 cups fresh apricots
71/2 tablespoons low or no-sugar needed pectin
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Optional – Sweetener to taste
For different quantities of apricots, see PECTIN CALCULATOR for apricots.
Prepare canning jars and equipment
Call it overkill, but I find it very helpful to read multiple sources of canning procedures prior to each canning season. As the season progresses, the canning experiences of many people are provided to the National Center for Food Preservation.
Jar and Tool Preparation
I hand wash otherwise clean canning jars and tools with the hottest water I can stand. While hand washing, I check the jars for crack in the glass or chipped rims. Jars with defects go into the recycling bin. Then I put the intact washed jars and tools into the dishwasher in a cycle with hot water, “sani-rinse”, and heated dry. I keep the dishwasher closed until I am ready to sterilize the jars. Then I either put the jars and tools in a steamer to sterilize them or sterilize them with a pressure cooker/canner for a minimum of 10 minutes/ 1,000 feet altitude. Tools that might melt in steamer or pressure cooker are sterilized by immersion in a hot water bath for 10 minutes/ 1,000 feet elevation above sea level. I keep the cool jars covered in the steamer or pressure cooker until they are ready for use.
Tools to Sterilize in Advance
- Silicon spatulas
- Canning Jar Funnel
- Magnetic Lid Lifter
- Clean, natural fiber cloths/ dish towels
- Canning Jar Lifter
- Metal slotted spoon
Other tools to have on hand
- Clean potholders
- Trivet or warm surface to put hot jars (Cold surface may cause hot jars to crack and spill hot contents. You won’t make that mistake twice.)
Cover new, unused canning jar lids with clean water in a small pot. Make sure that they do not overlap – or they might stick to one another. Boil lids for 10 minutes per 1000 elevation above sea level prior to use. Use magnetic lid lifter to remove lids from water bath and put on jars. Be careful that the handle to the magnetic lid lifter doesn’t melt by contacting the sides of the pot. Hey designers out there, suppose a better product could be developed?
Prepare Apricot Juice
Fill pasta pot with whole clean, firm, ripe apricots.
Add water to the bottom of pot – about 2 to 4 cups. Place glass lid on pot and heat on over medium flame until apricots collapse and fall apart. Put a jar or glass conainer in a large bowel. Lift strainer with apricots out of the pasta pot and on the jar or glass to raise apricots above the level of juice. Allow juice to drain from steamed apricots. Scrape pulp away from holes in strainer to allow juice to drain into bowl. Set aside pulp with seeds to cool.
Remove apricot pits from pulp and set aside separated pits and pulp for use in other recipes. (Do not use a blender or food processor for preparing fruit pulp for canning. Use of blenders or food processors will introduce air into the pulp. Air pockets provide bacteria a place to grow which is not something you want in canned goods. If you want to use the pulp for making frozen desserts, then air pockets could be a good thing).
Add juice back to pot on the stove top. Add lemon juice. Reduce apricot juice until at least 2 cups of liquid has evaporated. The more concentrated the reduction of juice, the better the flavor your jam will have. Extra juice can either be used for additional batches of jam or other recipes.
Prepare Apricot Jam
Pour 2 cups of apricot juice into a stock pot.
Add 8 cups of chopped and pitted apricots.
Add the pectin, and boil hard for about 1 minute.
Select Preservation Method
I prefer to use a pressure cooker because it is easier to handle steamed jars than immersed jars that are full of boiling hot water. I had the experience of dropping a jar of boiling water on a tile floor next to my foot. I quickly developed a preference for sterilizing my jars with a canning pressure cooker. Empty hot jars are easier and safer to lift. I read each of the references listed under additional information prior to canning each season and recommend doing so.
Follow The Steps in Processing Jams and Jellies to fill warm sterilized jars. Be sure to leave 1/2 inch air space at the top.
Take care to release any air bubbles that may be sticking to the sides of the jar or may be suspended in the jam or jelly. Air bubbles can cause two basic problems: 1. They give any bacteria that might have survived the canning process a micro habitat to grow in; and 2) air expands and contracts with changes in heat and pressure. I probably don’t have to elaborate on why you don’t want bacteria. The expansion of air bubbles doesn’t sound like a big deal to inexperienced canner. The first time you get jam or jelly exploding all over the inside of your canner, you will develop a new level of understanding of physics that you are unlikely to forget. Long story short, the instructions for dislodging air bubbles will no longer seem excessively picky after a sticky wake up call. Be sure to do the following:
- When heating the jam prior to filling the jars, remove foam as it develops on the surface of the jam. Save the foam for a quick snack or add it to an ice cream recipe where inclusion of air bubbles can be a good thing.
- Rub a non metal spatula along the inside of your jars after filling them to dislodge bubbles stuck to the glass.
- Gently tap the glass to shake loose suspended air bubbles.
After releasing air bubbles, dip the sterilized cloth in boiling water and use it to clean off the rim of jars before adding sterilized lids. Gently add rings. Be sure to adjust them so that pressurized air can leave the jars as they heat without dislodging the rings. When the jars cool, the remaining air space (1/4 inch minimum) will contract and create a seal for the lid.
Process Filled Jars
Based on the directions provided by the manufacturer of my pressure canner, apricots should be processed (heated) at 6 pounds pressure for 10 minutes. Since I live at about 3000 feet above sea level, the processing time is increased an additional 10 minutes for a total of 20 minutes processing time. The processing time is in addition to the 10 minutes of heating the vent air before the lid is secured or the weights are added to create pressure.
The boiling water canning method calls for 20 minutes of processing time plus adjustment for altitude.
Cool Jars of Jam
Let the pressure canner cool down slowly. Accelerated cooling will result in the jam boiling over and creating a lesson in physics that you will remember. Wait ten minutes after pressure had been released to loosen the lid. Lift the jars straight up with jar lifters (hot!) to remove them from the canner. Wipe down jars with the sterilized cloth dipped in boiling water. Gently tighten the rings. Allow the jars to cool in an upright position for 12 to 24 hours. Break fingers of house hold members who try to sneak jam from cooling jars. Well maybe, just maybe, that might be a little extreme. A better solution is to set aside some of the jam for them to eat while the rest of the batch is being canned :).
Primary Sources of Information on Home Canning
Some of my favorite sites to visit for canning info include The National Center for Home Food Preservation in Georgia and UC Food Safety which provides up-to-date publications on food preservation methods, such as freezing and canning, available from the University of California and other land-grant institutions. Recommended pressure and cooking times for various crops are provided at https://www.gopresto.com/recipes/canning/fruits.php#fruitchart. I like to check these sites every year before I start canning. Any new information on food preservation will be posted on these sites.
“PECTIN CALCULATOR for use with Ball low or no sugar added Pectin.” ©2016 Hearthmark, LLC dba Jarden Home Brands All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hearthmark, LLC dba Jarden Home Brands, Fishers, IN 46037, USA. Hearthmark, LLC is a subsidiary of Newell Brands (NYSE: NWL). (http://www.freshpreserving.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-BALL-Site/en_US/Page-Pectin#) Last accessed on June 22, 2016.
“Steps in Processing Jams and Jellies.” Elizabeth L. Andress, Ph.D., Professor and Extension Food Safety Specialist. Cooperative Extension The University Of Georgia, College of Family and Consumer Sciences in cooperation with the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The National Center of Home Food Preservation. (http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/uga/uga_steps_proc_j_j.pdf) Accessed June 22, 1016.
“Preserving Food: Using Pressure Canners.” Reprinted with permission from the University of Georgia. Andress, E. (2011rev.) Preserving Food: Using Pressure Canners. Athens, GA: University of Georgia, Cooperative Extension.Cooperative Extension The University Of Georgia, College of Family and Consumer Sciences in cooperation with the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The National Center of Home Food Preservation. (http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/uga/using_press_canners.html) Accessed June 22, 2016.
“Pressure Canning Revisited.” Carolina Canning | A Clemson Extension Program. (http://www.clemson.edu/extension/food_nutrition/canning/tips/12pressure_canning_revisted.html) Accessed June 22, 2016.
“Using Boiling Water Canners.” Elizabeth L. Andress, Ph.D. Professor and Extension Food Safety Specialist, Department of Foods and Nutrition. The National Center of Home Food Preservation. (http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/uga/using_bw_canners.html.) Accessed June 22, 2016.
“Atmospheric Steam Canners Can Provide a Safe Alternative to Boiling Water Canning for Acid Foods.” Carolina Canning | A Clemson Extension Program. (http://www.clemson.edu/extension/food_nutrition/canning/tips/56_atmosheric_steam_canners.html) Accessed June 22, 2016.
“Guidelines for Using an Atmospheric Steam Canner for Home Food Preservation.” University of Wisconsin Extension. http://fyi.uwex.edu/safepreserving/files/2015/06/WISteamCanner.pdf
Home processing of acid foods in atmospheric steam and boiling water canners. Willmore, Paola, Mark Etzel, Elizabeth Andress, Barbara Ingham. 2015. Food Protection Trends 35 (3): 150-160