Low Sugar Apricot Strawberry Jam

This sweet, tangy, and bright apricot strawberry jam is the perfect marriage of early season stonefruit and juicy berries. Try it stirred into yogurt or as a glaze for roast chicken.

A stainless steel pan, filled with chopped apricots and strawberries.

Several weeks ago, before the local season for either apricots or strawberries started, I found myself wandering through Reading Terminal Market. I was there to pick up a few things for a recipe development gig, and had no intention of buying out-of-season fruit that had traveled great distances.

A stainless steel pan filled with sugared apricots and strawberries.

I was walking with purpose towards the herbs, when the sight of a pile of tiny, brightly hued apricots stopped me mid-step and I was suddenly powerless to resist them. Before I knew what I was doing, I had a plastic bag in my hand and I was filling it with perfect fruit. With the bag nestled into my basket, I went a few more steps before I was again stopped by a display of incredibly fragrant strawberries. They joined the apricots. This is the not the first time I’ve fallen sway to fruit.

The chopped and sugared apricots and strawberries, after they've sat and gotten juicy.

Once home, I snacked on the fruit a bit (both to get a sense of their state of sweet and tart, and because it all smelled so good) and then weighed out what remained. I worked up a recipe ratio in my head and got to the work of pitted, hulling, and chopping.

The fully cooked apricot strawberry jam.

In the end, I used 2 1/2 pounds of apricots and 1 1/2 pounds of strawberries. Using a ratio of four parts fruit to one part sugar, I measured out 2 cups of sugar, which is approximately 1 pound. I settled the fruit into my Kilner jam pan, added most of the sugar, gave it a good stir, and then let it sit for several hours, so that the sugar could dissolve and help draw the juice from the fruit. Later, I added some lemon juice to help balance the flavors, and used Pomona’s Pectin to get it to set up.

Five half pint jars filled with apricot strawberry jam.

Once cooked, I had exactly five half pints of really delicious jam, that starts with the flavor of apricots and finishes with the strawberry. I typically keep a box of recently made jams and preserves next to my front door, so that I can easily grab things to share with friends and neighbors. However, this is one that I’ve actively kept out of the box, because I want to keep it all for myself. It’s just that good.

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Cookbooks: The Modern Preserver

The Modern Preserver Cover

These days, it takes a lot for a canning book to delight me. After all, I’ve spent the better part of the last decade totally immersed in jamming, pickling, and preserving. I sometimes even begin to think that perhaps I’ve seen every trick and flavor combination there is. And then a book like The Modern Preserver drops out of the sky and into my mailbox, and I am delighted.

The Modern Preserver Spine

Written by Kylee Newton, an artisan jam maker from New Zealand and now based in London, The Modern Preserver offers up a familiar and fresh array of jams, pickles, compotes, jellies, cordials, and more. The design is clean, the photography is gorgeous, and the voice of the book is reliable and charming.

The Modern Preserver Green Bean and Coconut Relish

The book opens with a short introduction that details Kylee’s background, and then offers a bit of information about her ethos as a preserver. From there, she talks about the rules of preserving. Do know that this section is far briefer than it would be in an American book. I’ll dig a little more into that in a moment.

The Modern Preserver Fennel and Orange Pickle

Following the intro, we dig into the recipes. The first section contains Relishes, Chutneys, and Sauces. Next up is Pickles, Fermentations, and Vinegars; followed by Jams, Jellies, and Compotes; and Curds, Candies, and Fruit Cheeses. Bringing up the rear of the book are the Syrups, Cordials, and Alcohol.

I have bookmarked a goodly number of recipes in this book, and every time I open it, I find something else that I’d like to make, or at the very least, use as inspiration for a related preserve (Blackberry Relish! How had I never thought to make that!)

The Modern Preserver Lime and Saffron Jelly

My only quibble with this book is that there’s no acknowledgement that best practices for preserving vary depending on where you are in the world. Here in the US, it’s standard practice that we use jars designed for canning (not recycled jars from store-bought preserves). We use two piece lids and we make sure that the flat lids are new each time we can. And finally, we run everything we make through a boiling water bath. None of this is in the book (I’m a little bit surprised that the US publisher didn’t make them at least add an appendix referencing the different standards).

All that said, I will still be preserving from this book. I’m just going to make sure that I bring along my food science knowledge and general understanding of canning. Everything will be packed into appropriate jars and will get a trip through the canning pot (to determine timing, I’ll reference recipes with similar ingredients and densities).

The Modern Preserver Back

Now, with all that off my chest, let’s have a giveaway! The kind folks at The Countryman Press have given me one copy of this gorgeous book to give away. Here’s how to enter!

  1. Leave a comment on this post tell me about a recipe source that’s been serving as inspiration for you lately.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, June 18, 2016. A winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, June 19, 2016.
  3. Giveaway open to United States and Canadian residents. Void where prohibited.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Disclosure: The Countryman Press sent me the copy you see pictured above for photography and review purposes, and is also providing the giveaway unit. Both are being provided at no cost to me. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. 

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Links: Rhubarb, Blueberries, and a Winner

rows of strawberries

Last week’s trip to Chicago was so terrific. I did seven events in six days, caught up with friends, helped raise money for the Ferrer Foundation, and met so many of you lovely folks. I got home on Saturday morning, and have spent the last 36 hours doing laundry, catching up with work, and spending time with my husband (he’s such a good sport about my frequent travels). Now, links!

Perfect Pickle Sampler 640

The winner of last week’s Mrs. Wages giveaway is #161/Lily Walbridge.

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Hear Me Each Week on Local Mouthful


Did you know that I make a podcast called Local Mouthful? Each week, my friend and co-host Joy Manning and I sit down at my dining room table or hers, and spend half an hour talking about a wildly broad range of food topics (including things like cookbooks, favorite seasonal ingredients, how to reclaim your kitchen routine, homemade pizza, and much more).

Part of what makes Local Mouthful unique is the fact that Joy and I have known one another for a very long time. We met back in 2003, when we worked together at a non-profit in the Philadelphia. We were both lowly assistants and ended up bonding over our shared misery. I left the job, we lost touch for awhile, and when we reconnected, we’d both stumbled into food writing jobs. We’ve been friends ever since.

Each episode of Local Mouthful is about half an hour long. You can listen directly on the website, or you can subscribe via iTunes or whichever other podcast app you most enjoy. It’s great company for walks, commutes, or any time you want some cheerful voices with you while you make dinner. Hopefully you’ll check it out!

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Blackberry Lavender Jam on Freshly Preserved Ideas


This summer, I’m teaming up with the folks at Ball Canning (much like I did last year) to help spread the word about the many pleasures of home canning AND their annual International Can-It-Forward Day. You’ll be hearing lots more about the various CIFD events and the fun new tools they’ve made available online this summer over the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled.

To kick off this year’s partnership, I’ve got a recipe for you. I’ve actually developed a series of recipes that will live on the new Tumblr from our Ball Canning friends, called Freshly Preserving Ideas. The first of those recipes, Blackberry Lavender Jam, went live today.

This jam contains a medium amount of sugar, has a mellow hint of lavender, and is just the right balance of sweet and tart. If blackberries are already in season where you live, I encourage you to make this one immediately. And if you’ve still got some time to go, bookmark it for the moment they arrive.

Disclosure: I am a paid ambassador for Ball Canning. 

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Free Canning Class at the Easton Public Market

strawberries in a pot

Attention Lehigh Valley area readers! I need your help! This Monday, June 13, I am going to be recording a canning video in the demo kitchen at the Easton Public Market. At 3 pm that day, we want to film a canning class in action, and for that, we need a live audience.

We need 5-8 people who are willing to hang out for an hour, watch as I demonstrate how to make jam, and who are okay with the possibility of briefly being on camera (the hour we film will probably get edited down to just a couple of minutes). In return for your help, I will bring an assortment of preserves and send each participant home with a jar of something delicious.

If you’re able to come and join us on Monday, use the form below to sign up. Thank you!

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