Last week, I opened the cupboard to make a sad discovery — I was down to my last jar of strawberry rhubarb jam. Luckily, the timing couldn’t have been better, as strawberries are once again in season and ripe for canning. While strawberry and rhubarb are one of my favorite combinations, I can never resist playing around with new recipes, so I decided to make the best of stone fruit season and combine the strawberries with apricots this time around.
You don’t often run across strawberry apricot jam, but I can’t imagine why not — stone fruit and berries work together beautifully. It’s a recipe I’ll be adding to my regular summer repertoire, and I hope it finds a home in your pantry as well!
While there’s nothing particularly revolutionary about this jam, the jars in which it was canned deserve a special mention. They are made by Weck, a German-based company that has been manufacturing canning accessories for over 100 years. The jars seal by dint of a natural rubber gasket, and their all-glass lids are held down with stainless steel clamps during the canning process. Unlike the more commonly-used Ball and Kerr jars, these are BPA-free and made of entirely natural materials. I was worried they might be harder to use than the jars I was used to, but my batch sealed perfectly without a hitch, and they are cute as a button to boot. Consider me a convert!
I purchased my jars through a lovely online store called Kaufmann Mercantile — they have a quirky selection of housewares, paper goods, and other well-designed products. Both the Weck and Kaufmann Mercantile websites have great tutorials and explanations on how to use Weck jars, so I won’t go into too much detail in the recipe below.
Oh, and one last thing. As my friend and I were enjoying our freshly-made jam, she suggested we top it with a few grinds of black pepper. I never would have called it, but the combo is fabulous — grind a little pepper on your morning toast if you don’t believe me, and you’ll see what you’ve been missing out on!
Strawberry Apricot Jam
makes eight 5.7oz jars (or about six half-pint jars)
2 lbs. strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 lbs. apricots, pitted and quartered
juice of 1 large lemon
4 C. organic cane sugar
1/2 tsp. butter or Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1. Sterilize your canning jars with boiling water and get your canning set-up ready — you’ll need to prepare a hot water bath to process the jars once you’ve filled them with jam.
2. Combine the fruit, lemon juice, and sugar in a large pot. Use a potato masher to break up some of the fruit, mashing until a fair amount of liquid has been released from the fruit and the sugar is mostly dissolved.
3. Put the pot over a medium-high flame and bring to a boil, stirring often.
4. When the jam comes to a rolling boil, turn heat down to medium, then stir continuously for 25 minutes, until jam has thickened and fruit has mostly dissolved.
4. Turn off the heat, then stir in the butter until some of the foam has subsided. Skim off any excess foam that remains.
5. Ladle the jam into the sterilized jars, then process them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.