I thought I'd share the step by step process for making my Apricot & Vanilla Bean Jam with you all... This versatile jam is great on fresh homemade warm biscuits or toast but, even better: Mixed into a homemade apple galette, topped as a glaze over chicken and pork dishes, and mixed into vanilla ice cream or cobblers - a must have staple for my cooking pantry! Enjoy ~ Diane
Diane's Apricot Vanilla Bean Jam
3 lbs apricots
2.5 cups sugar
*1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice (approx, the juice of one lemon)
3 tablespoons spiced rum
3 whole vanilla beans (split open for canning jars)
2 vanilla beans (insides of pods scraped into a small pile)
Wash the apricot and cut each in half, remove the pits. Place the apricots in a bowl. Add 1 Cup of the sugar, toss to coat. Cover and place in the refrigerator to macerate overnight or longer *at least 24 hours.
Heat the apricot-sugar mixture in a large sauce pot over medium heat, add in 1.5 cups sugar, stirring frequently, until boiling and the fruit softens, about 20 minutes.
Add the lemon juice, brown sugar and scraped vanilla bean paste, stir to combine.
Continue to cook the jam for another 20-30 minutes. This is a chunky jam, mash the fruit with the back of a wooden spoon or potato masher as it cooks. Once the fruit starts breaking up, use an immersion blender or food processor to break down larger chunks - stop blending when the mixture (thickness of jam) is to your liking.
When the jam has thickened, taste and adjust for sugar. I added another *1/2 cup sugar at this point (but yours may not need it)
Check for doneness to can. I use the cold plate test.
The 'cold plate test' - about 10 mins before you think your jam is ready - place a small freezer safe plate into freezer, when jam is ready - drop a spoonful of jam on plate and tilt vertical - jam should not run. ((in this photo I am holding plate perfectly vertical to the floor)) It's Ready to Can!!
When jam is ready to jar, turn heat down to low and stir in the rum. place half of a vanilla bean inside each sterilized jar, and fill with jam. Remove air bubbles, wipe the rim with a damp cloth, and seal the jars. Leaving 1/4" headspace.
Process the Pint jars in a water bath for 10 minutes (or according to regs in your area.)
Makes approx: 5 Pints
Recipe and Photos by: Diane Baker for Canning and Cooking at Home
Final Step. Eat. Enjoy! Diane