Thursday, July 14, 2011

Apricot Blueberry Jam

At some point, maybe it's the end of June, summer just hits you like a ton of bricks. Nothing is happening, and the crickets are chirping, and then it happens: fruit starts piling up in your fridge and then you get invited to everything in the world. I am not complaining here, actually, praise be for summer! With its ten pounds of blueberries, and six more weeks in the season. And its 25 pound boxes of apricots from around the corner. Its long drives past corn fields that start to scent the air with a sweet tea smell of new corn. And its cocktails, laughter, kids plastered with sand and ice pop residue.

Who doesn't want to spend a few hours at a blueberry farm?
It's not without it's normal downsides, the inevitable complexities of living. There's the car that died, and the one that's close behind it. There's the cell phone that died. There's a chicken that's not roosting, making you constantly wonder what could be wrong. And there's a meat grinder you bought that is a piece of junk (more on that later). And if you're a gardener, there are the myriad questions that pop up every day: is that leaf roll? Is that blight? Why are her cucumbers ready and mine are only a centimeter?? Endless inequities pile up, as usual, but something about summertime renders them less painful than during the winter. The blue skies stretched with cottony clouds are a palliative for mostly anything that life can throw my way. (I stress the mostly, as I knock on wood.)

Squashed berries happen.
And then there's jam. My routine lately is to make jam at night after my son had gone to sleep, and it's become a nice quiet meditative exercise that prepares me for bed almost as well as yoga. The other day, the confluence of apricots and blueberries in my house encouraged this jam to be. It's truly tart and sweet at the same time, and turned a gorgeous purple magenta color. 

3 pounds of apricots
1 pound of blueberries
2 pounds of sugar

Mix fruit and sugar and let macerate overnight in a glass bowl, or for however long you can stand waiting.

Put the mixture into your jam pot. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. I put in a sack of the apricot pits, for the almond flavor they impart. I don't crack them to release the kernel, like many folks do. I put them in whole because I am lazy. This step is up to you!

Bring everything to a boil and watch for it to foam furiously. Because of the pectin content of the blueberries, this came to the gel stage rather quickly, about fifteen minutes of bubbling ferocity. When it was done, I turned off the heat to let the bubbles subside and added a quarter cup of almond liqueur. You don't have to add anything, and you could use something else that you have on hand. Or pop in some fresh herbs from the garden. I almost put in a dessert wine but went with the almond riff. It's barely detectable, but I do think it smoothed out the tartness. Remove the bag of pits, if you included them.

Ladle into hot jars, seal, and process for ten minutes in a boiling water bath.



  1. I'm way behind in jam-making but you did inspire me to try my hand at chorizo.

  2. This sounds luscious, Jules. And you've gotten me right over my fear that a cots-blues blend would turn brown. I wanna see magenta! I'm still feeling fruit deprived and I'm on the hunt for local plums. Oh, and my cukes are slow, too. :-)

  3. Oh come on apricots! We have a tree full of unripe apricots right now that I've been watching for signs of ripeness for what feels like forever! Luckily blueberries freeze well so I might get to try this :)

  4. Your jam sound totally delicious and nice and low on sugar. Was a bit nervous that your chickens were sandwiched between 2 things dying and your mincer. Thankfully everything worked out OK though. Phew!

  5. Adventures in Dinner- how did the chorizo come out?

    Shae - I'm glad I'm not the only one on the cukes! The color was really lovely, maybe a deeper purple-ish magenta. Sorry I didn't take a picture of the color!

    Allison - Thanks!

    Melody - You are SO lucky! They'll come...: )

    Gloria - You read thoroughly, and I am thankful for that. I made quite a few errors on this post that were mostly grammatical (that's what happens when you post too quickly and don't let it sit for a day to read through again with fresh eyes). But I double checked the sugar and realized my recipe book, which I copied from, had the same error. It is not one pound of sugar, but two. Many apologies for the mistake! And thank you for mentioning the low sugar!

  6. Yes! Thank you I am making this tonight.

  7. LOVED the chorizo. It was a variation from the "Fat" book.

  8. My cukes are all over the place - I've harvested two at pickling size, a bunch around an inch, and even more blossoms. I had only blossoms on the tomatoes last weekend, and now I have some pea size fruit. What a strange growing season, huh?

  9. So true how everything hits at once. You are ahead of us, your fruits come earlier, causing me to feel far behind before our true Midwestern bounty even hits. I just finished up strawberries today... (not that I even pretend to do as much fruit as you do :) ), I canned when my boy was in the bathtub, then cleaned up after he went to bed...

  10. what a lovely post julia, i resonate with your feelings of summer. the jam sounds lovely as does your jam making solitude.

    my blueberries are still all green up this way so i will need to wait on anything blue. and where are you getting 25 pound boxes of apricots?? do i need to take a drive?

  11. Samantha - Tell me how it comes out!

    Jane - : )

    Kate - Yeah, it's been weird. But good. I will definitely take it over the last two years!!

    Rebecca - Mmm. Your strawberries make me wistful. I didn't get nearly enough strawberries.

    Tigress - Thank you! The apricots are from my neighbors, a small orchard. They are not organic, and sadly they are sprayed. But I like these folks, they try to stay clean as best they can, and I trust them on that. Add that to the fact that you can't buy local apricots anywhere, and it equals a 25 pound box. Right now I'm dehydrating a bunch!

  12. Julia, it came out great, I just thanked you publicly in a blog post on HVFN :)

  13. Samantha - Yay! I just commented over there. Your post looks lovely!

  14. I made an apricot blueberry jam this year I found on It was quite tasty in yogurt with a little honey added.

  15. Mathgirl - Mmm. Good stuff, right?