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.
- Apricots, any quantity you wish to make, let’s say 2 pounds
- Sugar, same weight as the apricots
- Wash the apricots and dry them. Split them open and pull the kernels out. Place them in a bowl.
- Weigh the apricots. Get another bowl and weigh the sugar to equal the same weight as the fruit.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
15 Comments • Comments Feed