Apricot Jam (Pekmez od marelica)

Although I would often use apricots when making knedle, for some strange reason I only started buying apricot jam as a pantry staple after moving to Brussels. Of course we would have it every once in a while with palačinke or in cookies or cakes, but somehow it always took a back seat to plums and berries. Out of the blue my husband started really preferring it, so when I saw apricots were in season here I decided it was about time to start making my own jam. Pekmez od marelica is super simple to make and fantastic since it is one of those fruits that doesn’t require pectin to thicken. One trick is to add a few less ripened to the batch since they will have higher concentrations of it. I also don’t peel them since I believe thats where the pectin lies. As for the lime juice, you could also substitute lemon but I found that I just prefer lime (its only for the taste, not for preservation.) Finally, since its not high-acid, you can simply invert them to seal (unlike canning tomatoes, for example, which is a completely different story!) I guess you could do a water-bath if that makes you feel more comfortable, but as long as you sterilize the jars and lids before filling and the seal is tight, you should be fine. I’ve been making plum jam like this, as has my family for many many years, and we’ve never had any problems.

  • 1.3 kilo of apricots, pitted and roughly diced
  • 600 grams of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 3 tablespoons of lime juice

Place the apricots, sugar, and water into a large pot and bring to a boil over medium to high heat. The trick here is to not allow the apricots to burn (the water will help), so immediately start mashing them with the back of a wooden spoon to help the breakdown process and encourage even cooking. Continuously stir the mixture until it begins to softly boil. Turn down the heat and continue simmering/slow boiling the jam, stirring to prevent any burning at the bottom. You can taste it to see how sweet it is, but remember that if it tastes very sweet, you’ll be adding lime juice later that will balance the flavor. The jam should cook like this for an hour or two, depending on how thick you like it.

When the jam seems to just be about right, start prepping the jars by boiling them in a large pot. Once they have boiled for 10 minutes, simply remove the pot from the heat and set to the side (You want them warm for when you add the boiling jam later.) I usually do the lids in a separate smaller pot, but you can add them into same as long as they aren’t the ones for mason jars.

Once thickened, remove the jam from the stove and stir in the lime juice. Next, add the jam to each of the jars using a ladle and funnel. Screw the lids on tightly, then immediately turn upside on a wooden cutting board or other heat resistant surface. Leave them upside down for about 5 – 8 minutes, then flip right side up and allow to cool completely. They should have vacuum sealed, but if any do not, place them into the fridge as they will not be shelf stable.

On the shelf, they are good for at least a year, maybe two, if they last that long! I usually make just enough to hold me until next year’s harvest.

Enjoy!

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