Sunday, August 15, 2010

Canned Apricots

Lovely apricots from Hamilton Farmer's Market

I have spent time each summer since childhood canning fruit, and making pickles and jam.  When I was young I was my mother's assistant in this task, and later we worked together.  Now I do much on my own, but Mum and I still work together on labour intensive tasks which involve lots of peeling and slicing, like canning peaches.

When I canned apricots in the past,  I removed the skins, and they were cooked, the delicate fruit turned to mush.  This time I left the skins on, which is not only easier, but appealing, since the skin is the most beautiful part of the apricot.

This time I decided to use a medium honey syrup, using half honey and half sugar. Medium syrup is about 2 parts water to 1 part sugar, so 4 cups water, 1 cup honey, and 1 cup white granulated sugar.  The syrup smells and tastes wonderful.

Note: many of the methods I use are the same as those my grandmother used.  Many of them follow the open kettle method, which is now not recommended to use by safe food handling guides.  I use these methods because they have never failed me, and I like the results from them.  It is, however, extremely important to be scrupulously clean when preserving food.  All tools and utensils should be clean and jars and lids should be sterilized carefully. 

Wash apricots. Cut fruit in half lengthwise and remove pits.  Measure fruit to determine how much syrup to make. Pint jars will require 1/2 cup to 1 cup of syrup.
Make syrup: in a large saucepan, bring honey, sugar and water to a rolling boil. Stir to dissolve sugar
Add apricots.  Return syrup to a boil. Stir very gently, as to not damage the fruit. Simmer until apricots are soft, but not falling apart.
Gently ladle apricots into hot, sterilized jars, and cover with boiling syrup.  Seal jars with snap lids and rings.  Let cool.

Apricots cooking in the syrup.

The finished product, with lots of left-over syrup.  I will use this up when I can peaches this week.

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