Homemade apricot jam
So, yesterday I was making some apricot jam. I like it better when it is homemade because then I have the insight about the ingredients, and, although not all ingredients are healthy - preserver, for example - you know that you didn't put much of it. Apricot jam is a part of winter foods that are kept in storage, and so is sauerkraut, pickles, tomato juice etc. Most households in my country are into, should we call it, "simple living", and part of simple living is making winter storages of food. It is economic, since it is a lot cheaper, it is healthier since it is what we call "organic" (100 % natural) food, and useful because if you have your own garden and a lot of fruits and vegetables there it is better to store them for winter then to throw them away. And the best thing about that all is the process of making those foods - you can learn a lot through it and enjoy as well!
So now we will talk about the process of making of apricot jam. My grandfather has a few trees of apricot in his yard and that's where I got the main stuff from. Otherwise, I don't know if apricot is expensive on the market, so it may not pay off if you buy them to make jam - but you can still enjoy in making it, and spent money will be less worth than your experience.
1. First you shake apricots from the tree. Those who fall are overly ripe and that's good. The rest, which are "just right", you will have to pick with your hands.
I had 20 kilos of fresh fruit, which makes about 10-15 liters of jam, but it all depends.
2. Now I'll explain the process. When apricots are in the bucket, you wash them throughly a few (2-3) times. Then you core them, remove the stones and simultaneously clean from disfigurement and such things. Put all cleaned apricots in a big can, and stones and other stuff in the other.
3. When you have cleaned them all, you grind them with a meat grinding machine - but grinding is not absolutely necessary - you can just squash them with your hands. Then put sugar there. On each kilo of apricots goes 200-300 gr of sugar. But that also depends - if apricots are naturally sweeter then you will need less sugar, or if you want jam to be a little bit more sour then you will also put less sugar. Now you put one little bag of food preserver on each 5 kg of material. Preservers are not so healthy, but they help the food last longer. You stir all that up.
4. Now we are coming to the cooking process. It will take a lot of time, so your time supplies should be high. I used a cooking pot (should be clean) and a burner that uses natural gas, but even a stove and and a suitable big metal dish would do. Temperature should be high. You put the material in a pot and cook for 2-3 hours, stir every 10 min, and later you stir more often. When the material in the pot becomes dense you should turn off the heat, but your jam wouldn't mind even if you cook it for more then 3 hours. So you turn off the heat and now you will be filling the jars.
5. Glass jars should be clean, washed, and the most important - they must be dry! They must be dry so they won't break due to the temperature of the jam. Now take a piece of cloth and hold the jar with it - to protect your hands from high temperature. And then you fill jars, one by one, with jam, using a big spoon or something similar. It doesn't matter of some jam falls near jar, on the outer walls of the jar on on piece of cloth in your hands - that is normal. Fill jars almost to the top, give them some time (10 minutes) to cool down a bit and then you can clean the outer walls, wait them to cool completely and the put a cover or cellophane foil with a rubber on them and that's it. They can now be stored, and eaten whenever you want - if you did put the food preserver, they can last more then a year in the store-room. Nice jammin'!
Tip: In step 4. you might speed up the process if you have another heater near the main one. You can put a pan on that other heater, take out little quantities from the pot and cook them shortly in that pan and put them in a third dish. Then it will take less time for the main pot to cook the main quantity. But I advise you to be patient.
Tip: In step 5. jam can be even better if after filling the jars (and roughly cleaning them form the outside), you put them in the oven that is set to 100 degrees for one hour. Then an oven could be turned off and you can leave the jars there to cool down. After that, wipe them, put covers or cellophane, store them and it is done.