Sometimes it’s a good idea to follow instructions. And sometimes I do. Not so likely when it’s medical advice. Nurses are sort of iffy on that, and I’m no exception. I had this minor surgery on my foot and they told me to “rest” for 2 weeks, wear an aircast and use crutches. Crutches suck. They were no help at all. The air cast is great, and I can get around just fine. The problem here is “rest”. They operated on Monday, and I rested. No lie- I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Then on Tuesday I think I rested some more. On Wednesday, I kind of had things to do. Then I went back to work, but I took it kind of easy. Until after work on Friday. Then… I stopped to see my friends at New Saigon for a sandwich. And I went to the Haymarket. I took the subway (resting my foot)most of the way and only walked a couple of blocks to get there. I had just enough time to see every stall, and from my favorite sellers I bought a variety of things, including apricots. This isn’t the season for them yet, so they were not quite as ripe as I’d like. Then again, they were only 5 for $1. I bought $5 worth. Then, I carried my haul 5 blocks to the train (where I rested). On the way home from the train I had some shopping to do. I wanted to make apricot jam. Because the apricots were a little less than gorgeous, I wanted to simmer them in apricot nectar, to make them taste amazing. If you want to be The Jelly Lady, you have to have some high standards.
Apricot Jam – recipe from Food.com (with my own adjustments for less than perfect fruit)
8 cups diced fresh apricots
2 cups apricot nectar
1/3 cup lemon juice
6 cups sugar
(optional- 1 pat butter)
First, before you do anything else, take your canning (or tallest) pot and fill with about 8 inches of water. Cover it and put it on to boil.
Next, sterilize jars. You can boil them, but I prefer to just put them on my (heinous, old stained) baking pan and heat them to 225f in the oven for 20 minutes. I prefer to have pint and half pint jars, and always prepare more than I need since I don’t always measure the fruit ( I prefer to eyeball it).
Put all the jam ingredients into a large pan and bring to a boil, continue at a gentle boil for 30 minutes. I don’t like very large pieces or lumps in my apricot jam, so I use a stick blender to smooth it out a little now. I also put in a pat of butter. It gets rid of the foamy stuff on top. And it’s butter.
Take the lids (the jars come with a two piece cover- the ring and the lid. You can figure this out).and let them soak in hot (not boiling) water for a few minutes.
Remove jam from heat and fill jars leaving 1/4 inch at the top. Wipe the top of jars carefully. Now put the lids on and tighten the rings just slightly. They need to go into the boiling water (make sure they are covered by at least an inch of hot water). After water returns to a full boil, set the timer for 10 minutes. That’s it. Use tongs, or can lifters, or superhero arms to lift the jars out, put them onto a dishtowel or counter. Let them rest untouched and without tipping for several hours. You can remove the rings now (so they don’t get stuck). Check the tops (push lightly) to be sure they have sealed. IF they haven’t sealed, refrigerate and use these jars first. The sealed jars will last for years. As if. That could happen. Just like I could be on “rest” and crutches for 2 weeks.