Every July, I buy a 25 pound box of apricot seconds and spent the next week scurrying from one recipe to the next.
It’s a race again time to get all that fruit cooked into jams, chutneys, mustards, and other preserves before they begin to soften, brown, and develop moldy patches.
Some might question this behavior, but when you love apricots as much as I do, it is imperative to squirrel away as many pounds of this sunny, short-seasoned stonefruit as is possible when they’re available.
One of my very favorite apricot preserves is a honey-sweetened jam, gently flavored with something herbaceous. It’s a really good trick, because it takes a basic preserve and transforms it into a perfect pair for cheeses, roast meats, and other sweet-and-savory applications.
Over the years, I’ve made it with rosemary, with lavender, and even with fennel fronds, for a little licorice kick. However, one of my very favorite herbs to pair with apricots is fresh thyme. It’s got an earthy quality that matches up beautifully with tart apricots.
Whenever I make apricot jam, I skip the knife and pull the apricots into pieces with my fingers. It’s also a nice (if slightly messy) way to get your kids involved with the preparation.
Make sure to pick a honey that has a neutral flavor. You don’t want something assertive like buckwheat interfering with the apricots and thyme. Also do know that honey-sweetened preserves don’t keep as well as sugar-sweetened ones once opened.
If your household struggles to use up half pints of jam, consider preserving this jam in the very small four ounce jars to better prevent spoilage and waste.
|Honey Sweetened Apricot Thyme Jam||
- 1 quart apricots (approximately 1 1/2 pounds)
- 3/4 cup honey (8 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- Prepare a small boiling water bath canner and three half pint jars. Place the lids in a small saucepan and bring to a very low simmer.
- Wash the apricots. Cut in half, remove pits and roughly chop.
- When all apricots are chopped, gather them into a bowl and add the honey and thyme leaves. Stir until the honey is dissolved into the fruit and the thyme leaves are distributed throughout the fruit.
- Scrape fruit into a low wide pan, like a skillet or braiser. Place over high heat and cook, stirring very regularly, until the fruit is bubbling madly and has thickened a bit. This should take 7-10 minutes.
- You know the jam is finished when you can pull a spatula through it and the space you’ve cleared doesn’t immediately fill back up with jam.
- When the jam is finished cooking, remove the pan from the heat. Funnel the jam into the prepared jars.
- Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
- When time is up, remove jars and place them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. When they are cool enough to handle, remove rings and test seals. If seals are good, wash off any sticky residue from the jars and store them in a cool, dark place.
- For best flavor and texture, eat your apricot preserves within a year of making them.
- If any of your jars didn’t seal, place them in the fridge and eat promptly.
How are you infusing herbs into your preserves this summer?