Come July, when our too-short Blenheim apricot season arrives, I’m going to make an entire case of honeyed apricots from Marisa’s Food in Jars cookbook. Last summer, I made only four pints. I didn’t know then that I was going to give up sugar and that these apricots could serve as the base for a year’s worth of easy, surprisingly good micro-batch jams. They could and they will.
I’ve been eyeing my last pint of apricots since this no-refined-sugar thing started in January. When I caved and bought a clamshell of un-local organic blueberries — because they looked so good and they were on sale and, damn, it’s still March — I knew it was what the apricots were waiting for. I turned the apricots and their good, honeyed juices into a bowl and I added just one cup of blueberries. I let the mixture rest for an hour or so, then I put it in a pot and cooked it low and slow until it thickened — about half an hour — stirring as needed to prevent scorching or sticking. The result is by far the best of the honey-jam experiments I’ve yet tried, though they’ve all been good.
I’m sure part of what makes the magic is that these apricots lingered and softened in the honey syrup for so many months. I could see popping open a pint of honey-soaked apricots to greet a cup of almost every fruit that comes along, preferably in season: rhubarb, strawberries, cherries, blackberries, plums. The method is simple and the results are great; it’s a perfect way to make a pint of refined-sugar-free jam for the fridge.
Oh, and that’s the same grain-free bread I linked to a couple of weeks ago. I’ll try another one eventually. Right now I’m finding it soothing to repeat what works.