I ate my first memorable apricot in 1986. I was seven years old and my sister was in her final year of nursery school. The normal order of things in those days was that my mom would pick Raina up at school first and then together, they’d come to get me. For whatever reason, that day the pick-up order was reserved. I delighted in that mostly because it meant I could ride in the front seat without a battle.
When we walked into the main area of Wee Kirk (is it strange that 25 years later, I still remember the name of my younger sister’s pre-school?), sitting on a high table was a giant basket of apricots with a sign that simply said, “Help yourself.” A parent had brought it in, an attempt to cope with the amount of fruit that a tree in Southern California can produce.
I took one, slurped it down and then quickly pocketed two more, loving the way the sweet and tart played together. My mom stopped me before I could well and truly ruin my dinner, but she was too late to keep me from falling under the spell of the apricot.
Though I’ve happily put away more than a few apricots in the intervening years, my appreciation for apricots was well and truly rekindled during my Slashfood days. That when I was the lucky recipient of a jar of Blenheim apricot jam from We Love Jam. This was about six months before my own jam making practice exploded, and so that jar seemed magical and hugely precious. I turned some aspect of every meal into a vehicle for that jam.
Last year, thanks to a friend with good fruit connections, I got a good deal on apricots and made jam and butter galore. However, I gave away a bunch and ate the rest and it was all long gone well before January. This season I was determined not to spend even a moment without access to an apricot preserve of some stripe. So I bought 25 pounds of apricots from Beechwood Orchards a few weeks back. They were seconds. They were heavy. They were a dollar a pound. I couldn’t resist.
I realize that confessing the volume of this purchase flies in the face of an urban preserving post. But before you freak out, I want to make it clear that you don’t have to be like me. My canning exists at one end of the spectrum. Here’s how you can make a batch of apricot jam on the on the other end. The small batch kind. All you need is two pounds of apricots. Whether you pluck them from a larger haul or you restrain yourself to buying just the handful necessary is up to you.
The way it works is fairly simple. Take two pounds of apricots and pull them in half with your fingers. Pluck out the pits and put them aside. Heap the halved apricots into a measuring cup with at least four cups capacity. Once they’re all there, use a fork or a small potato masher and break them down. The pieces don’t have to be uniform in size, you just want a pulpy, vividly orange mess.
Combine them with two cups of sugar and three tablespoons of finely chopped rosemary (should you not be a fan of rosemary, feel free to leave it out for a more traditional flavor profile). Pour into a pot and cook until it spits and spatters and runs thickly off the side of a spoon. Add the juice of a lemon. Fill the jars and process. No pectin or extensive cook times required (apricots are already so thick and jammy before you even add sugar that they cook up speedy fast).
The final flavor is sweet, tart and just a touch herbal. It’s good slathered on chicken before baking or dabbed atop a healthy blog of goat cheese. My inspiration for the addition of rosemary comes from the lovely site Putting By. I really enjoy the use of blog as personal record of food preservation. I aspire to that level of documentation, but rarely achieve it.
Should you need a more detailed set of instructions, an organized recipe is after the jump.
Small Batch Apricot Rosemary Jam
- 4 cups mashed apricots about two pounds whole fruit
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
- 1 lemon juiced
- Prepare a small boiling water bath canner and 4 half pint jars. Place lids in a small pan of water and set to a bare simmer.
- Combine mashed apricots, sugar and rosemary in a roomy, non-reactive pot and bring to a boil. Let cook for 7-15 minutes*, until the fruit thickens and runs slowly and thickly off the back of a spoon.
- When jam seems thick and spreadable, add the lemon juice. Stir to combine. Remove pot from heat.
- Carefully ladle jam into four half pint jars (depending on the concentration of the sugars in the fruit, it may reduce down further and leave you with just three half pints. Prepare to be surprised). Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in your small boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
- When time is up, remove jars from pot. Let cool. When jars are cool enough to handle, remove rings and test seals. If seals are good, store jars in a cool, dark place. If any of the jars did not seal, put those jars in the fridge and use within a month or two.
Do I take it that you don’t peel the apricots? I’m guessing not, but wanted to be sure. Thanks!
Apricots do not need to be peeled. Their peels just melt away into the jam.
My favorite kind of fruit, then, ’cause I hate removing those fiddly little peels! Thanks, Marisa.
Superb recipe. Another way to really enjoy apricot jam is to use diced dried apricots in the makings..about 1 cup per lb in any recipe of apricot jam you make. Gives the color an extra boost and the texture becomes chewey….love the title urban preserving. Mine is the JAM SESSION….
Paula, that sounds terrific! What a great idea!
No peeling?! Gotta get some apricots!!
My mom just mentioned that apricots are showing up at our farmer’s market. I love the idea of slathering this jam on chicken or goat cheese–that sounds delicious!
Oh, my, does this bring back memories! We had apricot trees and as a kid I had no idea how wonderful they were!! Store bought apriciots just aren’t the same…
Please tell me all of these recipes are in the book you are putting together- and I can get that when????
The community center I work at is a pick up location for a CSA- once everyone had come and gone there was a bout 5 pounds of peaches there weren’t “perfect”- they were going to throw them away! We are trying our hand at peach ginger jam this morning- wish us luck!
Unfortunately, these small batch recipes aren’t going to in the book. Maybe the next one!
I just bought a half-bushel of apricot seconds from Beechwood yesterday. My plans are apricot butter, plain apricot jam, and apricot-rosemary jam. And I love that apricot rosemary jam with goat cheese. It is so very good.
I just love that we both get our apricots from Beechwood. They produce such good fruit.
I’ve seen apricots at my co-op lately. It’s easy for me to get carried away and want to preserve large quantities. This recipe is perfect for keeping that impulse in check (this time) and trying a new recipe. Thanks!
Ohh, I love rosemary, and now I have an excuse for putting it into something else as well. On another note, I can see this going well with pork loin too, as a glaze. I will get my stuff together, and let you know how it turns out!
I am definitely going to try this! I have lots of rosemary in my garden, and the apricots are starting to show up at our local farmer’s market. Thanks for the idea!
Oh, I loooove apricot jam, but what do you do if the only apricots you can find are rock hard? Sadly, I rarely buy fruit anymore because I can never tell when it will be good or when it will be mealy, rock hard or mush!
Kate, if there’s any way you can manage it, try buying apricots from a grower or farmers’ market. It makes all the difference in the world. The problem with grocery store fruit is that it is picked before it’s ever even close to ripe and so it rots before it ripens.
Not totally the same but we made peach rosemary jam this week and it is sooo yummy! We were planning on putting it on pork loin or goat cheese. I now know what you mean about getting the apricots/peaches at the farmers market…we bought some peaches yesterday and they were absolutely amazing! I might have to buy a slew next week and can some more 🙂
How does one arrange to buy such quantities from an orchard? I would guess you have some connections, but any tips for those of us who might not?
Any chance you think this would work if I substitute loquats with apricots?
I only ask because our friends have a loquat tree burdened with fruit and this seems like a perfect small-batch recipe to try it out with. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!
You could definitely do this same style recipe with loquats. The only thing to know is that loquats are more like plums than apricots, which means they have more water and slightly less physical substance. Your yield will be a bit less as a result. Just tonight I made a batch of plum jam using the same 4 cups fruit and 2 cups sugar. My yield was exactly 3 half pint jars, as opposed the 4 I got with the apricots.
Ooh, I love the addition of rosemary to the traditional apricot – looks like it would go perfectly with some crostini and goat cheese!
I’m curious how you mash your fruit Marissa. A food mill? A KitchenAid? Looking for time saving tips!
I just made your apricot jam, sans rosemary…smile…and it is OUTRAGEOUSLY delicious!!! I started out with about 2 1/2 lbs. of fruit, which ended up being roughly 4 1/2 – 5 cups of mashed fruit. I stirred in the 2 cups of sugar. I ended up cooking mine about 24 minutes, or until the mixture was good and thick AND until it stopped releasing any more “foam”, as I knew that when I put the lemon juice in, that would make the jam a tad more “runny”. It was beautifully thick, and I got 4 half pint jars and a few tablespoons left over for our immediate gratification! Thank you for a “fool-proof” recipe…it is spectacular! Love your site…!!!
Just made a rosemary jelly with an apple base — would like to try this, though. Looks beautiful! Must be fantastic on chicken… Okay, now I have to make it.
I love the idea of a rosemary apple jelly. Sounds absolutely gorgeous and refined.
is this a good way of using up mediocre apricots? in sunny australia, we don’t get nice apricots, particularly in queensland but i still love the flavour of apricots.
Looks (and sounds) amazing. I love almost any stone fruit, so I get really excited about produce shopping this time of year!
I got 25 pounds of apricots this week and have been making multiple versions of this jam. Plain is perfectly beautiful on scones, and with herbs and some added spices it becomes the base for my fave apricot chicken recipe. Thanks so much for helping me make the best use of the bounty!
Could I use honey instead of sugar? Would that distract from the flavor of the apricots too much?
It will not set in the same way if you substitute honey for the sugar. Honey is also sweeter than sugar, so you need to take that into account.
I used your recipe for my first batch of apricot jam of the year… DELICIOUS! I love the rosemary with it and later I’ll do more batches without rosemary for a simpler taste. The only thing I changed is instead of cooking down the jam I actually used pectin. The flavor was so bold already I didn’t want to lose out on the final product. A double batch made me 5.5 pints. The half pint I put in my fridge for “immediate gratification” too. 🙂
Holy cow! I just made this with bay leaves instead of rosemary, and I am now dying for some chicken to slather it on!!!!!! Oh wow – thank you so much, Marisa! You have helped me fill my kitchen with enough jam to last until next summer. Thank you for giving me the confidence to try jamming this year – my little ones won’t be eating *any* HFCS on their peanut butter sandwiches <3
I was so eager to make this recipe when I came across it a few days ago that when I was at the store picking up some raspberries for our Fall issue cover shoot, I couldn’t help myself and I got a few pounds of apricots! (I also got figs and made that jam last night…) – well my son is napping, so it’s jammin’ time!
I was thinking that this jam would be really yummy as a substitute for the apricot marmalade in this recipe: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Chili-Rubbed-Pork-Tenderloin-With-Apricot-Ginger-Glaze/Detail.aspx – I made this last week with a jar of Bonne Maman apricot jam and it was so delicious, but as the above commenter said, I would really prefer not to use anything with HFCS in it. (Not that Bonne Maman uses HFCS but still…homemade is ALWAYS better!)
I was just at the Farmers Market and saw more apricots and so I am going to try to track down some directly from the farmers too, as I am quite sure one small batch just won’t be enough.
Thank you again!
Just an update, because I had to share! This is my new official favorite jam recipe, and I have to thank you! I made a small batch late this afternoon and I am going to take the day tomorrow to find all the apricots I can get, because four small jars won’t last long in our house. (Correction: three! We already had one, on that Pork Tenderloin recipe I shared in my last comment…)
I am so thrilled to hear you like it so much!
I made some apricot jam in the microwave. Weighed 1 KG apricots, cutting off any bad bits before cooking in the microwave for 12 minutes stirring after six minutes then left it overnight. Added just four stones to help with the setting. I had forgotten about the mashing with a potato masher. I cut the larger pieces smaller then added about two cups sugar. Cooked for a further 12 minutes stirring after 6 minutes. Very thick mixture. Added about 1/4 cup of water. Reheated to be able to pour into hot jars. The fruit must have been a bit green as it tasted a little tart. I didn’t add lemon juice. There was none of the usual frothing which can be counteracted with butter. I may have not put enough sugar in it. My Husband agreed that it had an interesting taste. Can’t wait to try making apricot jam with rosemary. Should counteract the need for using more sugar as whole cloves does for tart apples. Honey stirred in would definitely make it sweeter. Its eaten too quickly by my husband to worry about storing it for a whole year. Has anyone ever tried making apricot jam with whole cloves but removing them before bottling?
This is wonderful! I used about double the amount of rosemary because well… I really love rosemary… and then I made a batch with vanilla beans instead of the rosemary! your post really helped and I just love this recipe! we picked up 4kg of apricots in Austria recently so … now… we have a lot of jam 😉
Wow, this is delicious and was soooooooo easy. My lousy turkey took a dust bath on top of the rosemary plant so I added a smidge of lemon verbena and a few basil leaves. Not even going to bother canning it, it won’t last that long. I’m really enjoying the Food In Jars book now that canning season is fully underway!
I just made this jam, but I forgot the lemon juice. Will it be okay or does it need the lemon juice for acidity?
You should be just fine. Apricots have enough acid to be safely canned without the lemon juice. It’s just there for flavor.
You never mention the peel. Does it stay in the jam?
Yep. Apricots have a thin skin and so don’t need to be peeled. If I want you to peel the fruit, I always include that step. If I don’t mention it, it means it doesn’t need to be done.
Hello! You don’t know me, but I’m a pretty big fan- I have your book, and when my neighbor and I (both novice canners) decided to rescue as much of our community’s fruit last summer as possible it was an incredible help. The pear-ginger jam was the best thing we made in over 1,000lbs of fruit… and it is 100% on the docket again for this year!
Anyways, I have a question. We made a small batch of this last week subbing thyme for rosemary (it’s what we have growing, and we didn’t have honey to make the honey thyme version). I found that it was sweeter than I wanted it to be, but I’m obviously wary of messing with canning recipes. My instinct is that I could decrease the sugar without danger because apricots are acidic enough on their own, but I wasn’t sure how to account for the thyme.
The thyme is incidental to the finished acid. You can absolutely reduce the sugar. Just know that it will probably impact the set and yield a bit. More on reducing sugar here. https://foodinjars.com/2015/02/canning-101-can-reduce-sugar/
Thank you so much!
I was looking at your simple apricot recipe as well and you mentioned apricots are a 3:1 ratio for the sugar, and that they don’t need lemon. Does the rosemary throw it off that much?
That’s a basic ratio if you’re looking to use the lowest amount of sugar to get a good set. However, I wanted this batch to taste a little different, so I used more sugar and lemon juice to help balance the flavor. They both work.
I am eating some of my 2020 apricot rosemary jam spread on toast this a.m. with butter and salt. This is one of my favorite jam recipes from you! I’ve already ordered apricots from Frog Hollow Farm so I can make another (precious) batch this year.
I’m so happy to hear it!
Since there’s no added pectin, can this recipe be doubled?
You can double it, but the cooking time will increase and the set will probably be a little softer.