Two apricot trees grew beside the house I grew up in in Kamloops. They never grew very tall, but produced quite a few apricots, according to my memory. My mother made this jam every year, filling the house with the smell of hot sugary fruit. The result: jars of golden summer flavour to open in the dark days of winter.
This jam is made the old-fashioned way, without commercial pectin. It relies on the pectin in citrus and natural fruit, along with a long (about 35 minutes) simmer. I like to have a book beside me while I stir, or someone to visit with.
Prize Apricot Jam
8 cups pitted, chopped apricots (large chunks, at least one-inch pieces)
zest of 1 orange
finely chopped fruit of one orange, pith removed
1 cup drained crushed pineapple
4 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Wash and sterilize 8, half-pint jars. Place lids in small saucepan and cover with water. Don't boil them yet.
In large, heavy pot, stir all of the jam ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring well to dissolve the sugar. Lower the heat until the mixture boils steadily, and stir constantly, until 2 thick drops of syrup run together off the side of a cold metal spoon. Alternately, place a plate in the freezer, and drop a spoonful of jam onto the cold plate to test it. When a spoon can be drawn through the jam and the ridge remain clear, the jam is ready. This will take about 35 minutes. The jam will darken in colour, and the apricots break down, leaving bits of fruit and peel.
A few minutes before the jam is ready, boil the lids for 5 minutes, turn the heat off and leave the lids in the hot water.
Ladle into sterilized jars, seal, and let cool. Makes 6-8 half pint jars of jam.