Apricot jam, solar-powered

August 3, 2009  • 


 

Words cannot convey  the heavenly perfume emanating from these abricots, locally picked in the Chouf region (about 40 km south-east of Beirut) . If I could invite everyone to dip their head in the basket and inhale. What an experience! Designers would start selling apricot fragrances.  I would love to smell like a Lebanese  apricot.


Everyone in Lebanon that you meet makes their own apricot jam and I have often been handed a jar as a gift. This time, I could not resist making some myself.  I asked my aunt for her recipe and she gave me detailed instructions on how to make it using the heat of the sun. It is unbelievably simple and only requires fruit and sugar.

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Apricots, any quantity you wish to make, let’s say 2 pounds
  2. Sugar, same weight as the apricots

 

METHOD:

  1. Wash the apricots and dry them. Split them open and pull the kernels out. Place them in a bowl.
  2. Weigh the apricots. Get another bowl and weigh the sugar to equal the same weight as the fruit.
  3. Now pour the sugar on top of the apricots and let them sit at room temperature for a few hours or overnight in the fridge. The sugar will have dissolved and the bowl will be filled with juice.
  4. Place the contents in a nonreactive heavy-bottomed pot. Simmer for a few minutes, until a spoon dropped on a plate will look syrupy and thick and somewhat viscous. This should take 10 to 15 minutes depending on quantity, heat, etc.
  5. Turn off the heat and pour the mixture into a pyrex rectangular dish. Place in the sun, cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in full sun for a few hours. Check on it after 4 hours. If it is viscous and taste like a fabulous apricot jam, then it is ready. If not, leave in the sun longer, all day if needed. When the sun sets, bring the pan  inside. Put it out the next day if you wish until you get the jam you are looking for, up to several days.
  6. When the jam is ready, pour into  sterilized jars and vacuum-seal them (listen for that popping sound), or store  in the fridge for three weeks.

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NOTE:

  • I am aware that not everyone is lucky enough to taste these apricots from the mountains of Lebanon. So, I did some research online and stumbled on an excellent article written by blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/author/stephanie-rosenbaum/about apricots and making jam. Apparently the variety of apricots in the US that would be similar to the one I enjoyed in Lebanon is called Royal Blenheims. It has a very short season and can be found in farmer’s markets in the summertime.
  • The amount of time that I listed is vague because it depends on the quantity of fruits and also if you wish to cook the jam in the sun or not. If the sun is not cooperating, it is perfectly fine to cook it on the stove for a few minutes longer until the consistency is beginning to feel viscous. Keep in mind that the jam will shape up as it cools, so don’t be tempted to overcook it.

Comments

15 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Nick says:

    I can vouch for this jam’s utter awesomeness.

  2. Christie @ Fig & Cherry says:

    Fantastic post and great shot of the apricots! I’m so intrigued by the drying of the jam in the sun – I hadn’t heard of that before. One question: how do you keep flies / bugs out of it?

    My grandmother used to make her own apricot jam, but I didn’t realise everyone in Lebanon did! Apricots are called mush-mush (pronounced moosh) aren’t they? 🙂

    • Joumana says:

      Hi Christie!
      Yes, apricots are called mushmush and I am getting ready for my next step: making mushmushiyeh! ( a pastry with apricot jam).
      Now to keep the jam free of bugs, you simply cover the pan with plastic wrap.

  3. Sarah says:

    What an interesting recipe. Its apricot season and the sun is beginning to burn- time to make this jam

  4. Hagit says:

    is it possible to make this jam with less sugar?
    Here(south to Lebanon..) we call them mishmish..and I bought the balaadi variety (small and rather white).

  5. Hagit says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe ,I just finished pouring the jam into jars…I think this is the tasties jam I’ve ever done! My daughter who usually eats only strawberries jam,said its perfect and ate it with pancakes.
    It came so clear and translucent, something in the slow process makes it different.
    Going to try with figs(peeled ones) for sure,cherries..the sky is the limit!

  6. Elena says:

    Joumana! today i mean to finish my jam ( it still under the sun).I prepared it with big red prunes ( 700g depitted and halved prunes/500 g sugar), and i use not plastic but cheesecloth for more evaporation of juices.
    Tomorrow I add a picture if you want…
    It’s a really revolutionary method of jam preparing. Thank you a lot!

    • Joumana says:

      @Elena: Looking forward to seeing the pic! This method was used for thousands of years (even the Phoenicians used it) and recently there was a show on French TV (Arte) that reported on the nutritional benefits that stem from cooking and drying things in the sun like raisins (or jam).

  7. Elena says:

    This is the ready jam and the jam with my home-made fromage blanc.
    http://s54.radikal.ru/i146/1207/29/4bb43b047866.jpg
    http://s019.radikal.ru/i602/1207/2d/3bb3fa08f044.jpg
    http://s016.radikal.ru/i336/1207/45/bef8732bfc7f.jpg

    • Joumana says:

      @Elena: WOW!!!! Love the color and the texture! and the fromage blanc with it is IT~It reminds me of my favorite breakfast, at an Iranian friend; it was a type of fromage blanc with black sour cherry preserves. Swoon!

  8. Elena says:

    Joumana, this is my next jam- nectarine. 3-day exposition.
    http://s019.radikal.ru/i609/1207/bc/da02b31a9c9c.jpg
    I have to say that solar-powered jam have really especial aroma and color
    .I covered my jam not with plastic or cheesecloth but 2 layered tulle fabric ( very thin, netted fabric ), http://www.tullesource.com/tulle-fabric.html
    – it’s give optimal evaporation.

    • Joumana says:

      @Elena: Your jams look so inviting and luscious!!! the tulle fabric is even better to use and that’s what some ladies here use as well~

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