Another day, another jam! Well, techincally, I made all of the preserves and infusions you’ll see here over the next few weeks in two days last weekend. Preserving doesn’t really take all the time you think it might, and once you’ve prepped for one batch, it’s not a lot of trouble to make up a second batch. In all, I ended up with something like five pint jars, 10 half-pint jars and 5 half-cup jars of preserves, and about a liter of fruit infused vodka. Definitely more than Janna I can eat in a year, but they were a lot of fun to make, and will be fun to give away, as well.

Because I’ve already made a batch of peach jam, I thought my next batch should be apricot. My apricot tree is doing pretty well – it had a bit of heat/water stress earlier, but it recovering nicely with the added attention I’m giving it. I won’t have fruit from it for another two years, and even then, probably not enough to preserve for about five. And apricot season in Central Ohio has already come and gone. But I ended up finding some very nice, barely underripe apricots at the grocery store two blocks away. I also found a few really beautiful black apricots, which are a fuzzy skinned cross between plums and apricots. The flavor is incredible!

Black Apricots.

For this batch, I used this recipe from Hedonia. I replaced half of the apricots called for with black apricots, and didn’t add cardamom. While I love cardamom, it can be overpowering, and some people just don’t like the flavor. I also used a box of pectin , and I pulled out the lemons before I poured the jam into the jars.

I was intrigued by the recipe because of its use of noyaux, which are the seeds inside the pits of stone fruit, like apricots. I enjoyed the strong, bitter almond flavor when cracking my neighborhood apricots pits for germination a while back. But the noyaux of the store bought apricots were completely bland and tasteless. The pits of the black apricots were tiny, like plum pits, and not worth cracking. I raided my apricot seeds in the fridge and added any that were cracked or looked like I handled them too roughly. I still have about eight apricots seeds left chilling.

Bourbon = good. Fruit = good. Bourbon + Fruit = Good Jam.

I’ve never tried a jam with alcohol in it, but this worked really well, flavor-wise. Fruit and bourbon go really well together, and the alcohol helps bring out the flavorful oils in the spices. Even if you’re a teetotaler, I’d recommend trying at least one jam using alcohol – this batch used 1/4 cup of bourbon (I used Woodford Reserve) and yielded 6 1/2 cups of jam. When it’s added at the end, most (but not all) of it boiled off within seconds.

The result was a soft-set jam that has a perceptible bourbon flavor, with the freshness of the apricots coming through. It’s a little less firm that I would have liked, but still great drizzled on blue cheese. I’ll also save some jars to use as the apricot fillings of Christmas cookies.

Apricot-Noyaux-Bourbon Jam.

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