Earl's "Summer Sunburst" Jam
Some of the most interesting, delicious and flavorful jams I've ever eaten are also some of the most complex. Fortunately, though Summer Sunburst features a mix of five different fruits, they're all in season at roughly the same time and should be relatively easy to come by!
Produces 4 pint jars of jam
- 3 apricots
- 6 meyer lemons
- 1 cup strawberries
- 1 white peach
- 3 cups red grapes
- 1 cup turbinado sugar
- 1/4 cup agave syrup
- 3 teaspoons pectin
- 1 whisk
- 1 large metal pot
Note: This recipe tastes best when made with strawberries, apricots and a peach that are all as ripe and sweet as possible (and with meyer lemons that have had a chance to season a little on the tree.) Your strawberries should be ripe enough that they can be pureed with a potato masher and are a bold, deep red in color. Your peaches should also be so ripe that they are juicy and you can crack them open and pit them using only your fingers. When choosing meyer lemons, the best ones for this recipe are those that have had a chance to mellow on the tree a little while and that have very little tang to their juice. (A little bite is always good, but this recipe can rapidly turn sour with meyer lemons that aren't fully ripe-- or worse, lemons of a different breed!) If you must use lemons of a different variety, don't add the peel-- only the peel from ripe meyer lemons is soft enough and sweet enough to keep from making this jam too sour to eat!
- Pit the apricots and put the meaty parts in a blender or food processor. Process the apricots until they are chunky or nearly liquid, then place in the pot. You can do this step using a knife as well, but it takes a lot more time (and it's harder to keep all of the juice.)
- Cut a small hole (about the width of a knitting needle-- just wide enough to completely encircle the spot where the meyer lemon was originally attached to the tree.) at one end of each of the meyer lemons and squeeze all of the juice out of them into the pot. If they're ripe enough, you shouldn't need to roll them to get extra juice our of them, but be careful not to squeeze them so hard that they disintegrate and dump all their seeds into your mix.
- Once your lemons are all juiced, open them up and separate as much of the pulp and peel as you can from the seeds. Set aside or throw away the seeds, then process the pulp and peel and add it to your mixture.
- Pit the peach and process it, then add it to your mixture.
- Carefully remove the grapes and process them, preferably in a blender. Choose only grapes that are still firm and juicy-- throw away (or eat) any grapes that are mushy, dried or otherwise undesirable. Add to your mixture.
- Put your pot on the stove and turn to low heat.
- Stir the mixture for a few minutes. Add pectin, agave and sugar. After a few more minutes, turn heat up to medium and begin to whisk the mixture until all of the ingredients are mixed together. The pectin will clump like crazy, so whisk it good.
- Bring the ingredients to a boil and let them boil for about ten minutes. Whisk any clumps of fruit or pectin that may still remain.
- Taste (very carefully! Get a little on a spoon and taste it once it's cool) and add additional sugar to taste. (Be careful not to over sugar your mix, as the peels and juice will lose a little of their tang once they've been boiled and canned.)
- Turn off the heat but continue to stir. Once the mixture starts to thicken and cool (around 5 minutes of time) Ladle your new jam into sterilized jars to within 1 to 1/2 inch of the rim. Wipe the rims of the jars clean, then seal them with your preferred canning method (I tend to stick the tightly-lidded jars in the oven at around 225 for about 30 minutes to seal them.) Jars will be hot both before and after you put them in the oven, so be very careful when handling them.
- Allow your jars to cool somewhere safe and out of reach of children, pets and anyone curious enough to touch them while they're still hot. Once the jars are cool, check the seals to make sure they're down and not popped. If any of the lids are popped up, keep those jars in the fridge and eat the jam in them as soon as you can (aka: before they go bad. This shouldn't be a problem because the jam is so darn good.)
- Enjoy your new masterpiece!