Thursday, August 14, 2008

Apricot Jam with Jackie

Yesterday I went over to my neighbor Jackie's house and helped her make a batch of apricot jam. She is 85 years old and her hands have grown so shaky that she isn't able to do everything she use to. She and I share a love of cooking and I am always happy when she invites me over to help out and then shares a delicious tried and true recipe.

5 cups chopped apricots (can leave the skins on)
1 cup crushed pineapple (drained)
8-10 maraschino cherries (chopped)
5 cups sugar
1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
juice from 1/2 of a fresh lemon
1 small package orange jello

In a large pot, place everything EXCEPT the orange jello. Bring to a boil and simmer for 25 minutes. If foam forms on the top, add 1 tsp. butter and stir until foam disappears. Add the orange jello last and mix well. Seal in half pint jars. Makes 8 half pint jars of jam.

****Jackie's secret: You don't need fancy canning equipment for this recipe. Here is a quick and easy way to seal the jars. 1) Bring a small pan of water to a boil. 2) Boil the jars and the lid rings (1-2 at a time) to sterilize. Set aside to dry on a clean cloth. 3) Fill sterilized jars with the jam mixture and wipe around the lip of the jar with a wet, clean cloth. 4) Place new canning lids in the boiling water for a minute or two. 5) Remove lids from hot water and place on jars, then screw on rings until tight. 6) One or two at a time, turn the jars upside down and place them in the pot of boiling water (the water should be deep enough to just cover the lid). Allow to boil for about 2 minutes. Remove from the boiling water and place upright. 7) Jars will seal perfectly within an hour or two.