Apricot Preserves Recipe: Jam Making as Alchemy

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best apricot jam

best apricot jam on toast

This apricot jam recipe is golden on all levels, a mixture of simple ingredients creating a whole greater than the sum of its parts.  As my favorite jam, it’s a dollop of sunshine I can count on any time of the year.

fresh apricots ready for jam

COPY CODE SNIPPET

I have given up trying to grow apricots in the Maritime Northwest (my first public admission). They’re fussy little trees that are beacons to any imaginable plant or insect problem nature can dispense, blooming well before pollinators appear, succumbing to peach borers and rotting at the roots where standing water prevails.

Don’t think I’ve tried; I could make a log cabin in dead apricot trees. Nope, this boy has seen the light.  Apricot Eden is only two hours east of the Cascade Mountains, and they deliver.

apricot jam simmering on the stove

Introducing Alsatian Apricot Jam

This apricot jam comes from the Alsace region of  France, which borders Germany and Switzerland, a culinary destination known for lip-smacking rich food and fine wine. The recipe does not disappoint, transforming fresh and dried apricots, wine, vanilla and orange zest into a lavish spread of sensory overload. (Hyperbole? I think not.)

homemade canned apricot jam

Alsatian Apricot Jam Recipe

Adapted from Mes Confitures: The Jams and Jellies of Christine Ferber

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds fresh apricots
  • 12 ounces dried apricots
  • 4 cups sugar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 2 Vanilla beans
  • 10 ounces of Gewurztraminer wine

Preparation:

  1. Chop dried apricots, place in bowl, add Gewurztraminer (you want a fruity white wine, Riesling works, too), soak overnight
  2. In a new bowl, quarter fresh apricots, remove seeds, chop to a bite size bit
    1. In nonreactive pan, add fresh apricots, sugar, orange zest/juice, and lime juice
    2. Split vanilla beans in two and scrape seeds in to apricot mixture
    3. Also add the beans (remove before canning)
    4. Simmer about 10 minutes, mixing all ingredients together until sugar dissolves
    5. Remove from heat, cover, refrigerate overnight
  3. Next day, add dried apricot mixture to fresh apricot mixture
  4. Stirring, simmer until thickens, and remove vanilla beans
  5. Put the jam in jars and seal in water bath

I tend to simmer only for a short time and shut off the heat, letting the jam cool. When convenient, I reheat for a short time again  to thicken the jam through evaporation. This jam sets up nicely and without much fussing. (Photos are from my latest batch–one of many.)

recipe for fresh apricots made into jam

What I was blogging about:

79 COMMENTS

  1. I like to take a road trip to Chelan at the end of the summer for just this reason: to boxes of fruit I can’t grow in any volume, most notably peaches.

    The jam recipe sounds wonderful!

  2. Oh to have apricots in Maine! I judge all others by an apricot I once ate in southern California; I can’t say I’ve truly had a real apricot since then. I do love to add dried apricots to chutney, and I’m now set on finding a canning batch of fresh fruit…somewhere, somehow…so I can have some of your amazing preserves. And I’m so eager to try the simmer a short while, then turning it off, then reheating later. Does that work for other preserves too? (I love a little white space in my recipes.)

    What a great recipe! Thank you, as always, Tom!

  3. I just discovered your blog through DigginFood. Lovely writing that has drawn me right in! I bought some cherries on Vashon Island over 30 years ago, and we still talk about the pies that came from them. Indeed, you are living in paradise!

    • Thanks Pam, Vashon is a sweet place. As for my cherries this year, I believe the crows and robins enjoyed more of them than I did. I think my shooing antics are perceived more as a come-and-get-it signal.

  4. I am at that point where you decided long ago that an apricot tree could only mean a good thing in the garden. Since we planted it earlier this season, it hasn’t yielded anything. Only time will tell if said apricot will be replaced by a reputable supplier of fresh fruit. That jam is beautiful!

  5. I will try this along with my other summer canning. Last year my apricot jam turned out horrible. This sounds amazing.

  6. Stacey-thanks!
    Lisa- Oh, yeah– I trade for fine hand knits!
    Sandy- I’m with you on a trip east of the mountains. My peach crop is anemic this year–so Yakima here I come.
    June- I make all of my preserves this way. Only simmering a little while and shutting off the heat. Evaporation makes a nice spoon jam that seems to me to have a better texture and flavor than overcooked, pectin-laden counterparts.
    Let me know what you think
    June- Welcome home!

  7. Tom, that recipe looks stunning. Why just make jam when you can add wine?! We can’t grow apricots here either, so the Okanagan must provide. Hard to believe that there the apricot trees are like weeds that no one has time to harvest! We’re overloaded with berries, though, so I think it will be berry jam for us this year.

  8. Toni, I just picked a quart of blackberries, my first. Speaking of Canada, once I had some homegrown apricots on Salt Spring Island around mid-July. No one knew the variety. If I ever find out, I’ll give them a try here and forward you the name. Though a trip to the beautiful Okanagan sounds like a good option, too.

  9. Thanks Shae, I just checked out your blog. You’re a jam maker–a most prized and delicious vocation. Look forward to trying out some recipes.

  10. Hi Tom, Since I’m new to you blog, I have been reading previous posts and catching up! So enjoyable! Are you a professional writer? English major? You have a gift!

  11. Hi Pam, you made my evening on this very, cool, rainy day. I’m a writer by profession with a ‘farm’ on the side. I may have a lemonade stand before the summer is over. Thank you for your very kind words.

  12. Tom this looks amazing – maybe we can come visit and trade you something for a jar? Apricot is my favorite and I had to milk the goats before my batch finished so it’s too thin. Poop. Are you free next week? Maybe we can come terrorize Gracy and Boz then!

  13. Oh, wow… I am on a quest now! I love apricot preserves. They are the ultimate comfort food, the thing my grandmother made for us every summer holiday when my family would visit her home in Spain. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to grow apricots here in Florida, and I generally like to buy the local produce — but I will make an exception this once, thanks for the inspiration.

  14. Tom, this looks delish! One of your readers pointed me to you because I’m working with the Washington State Fruit Commission to spread the word about their new canning site, SweetPreservation.com. Could we send you a basket of Washington fruits (cherries and peaches mostly) to experiment with? We’d love to see what you come up with!

  15. This sounds like a delicious recipe! I would love to make it and give to family and friends. How many cups of preserves does this make?

  16. Tom – Any alter suggestions for using all fresh fruit instead of dried? Seems a shame to use store-bought when I have all these apricots falling off the tree!

  17. Oh Jeff you’re killing me here, I can’t get an apricot tree to grow and produce fruit no matter what I try. Puget Sound is not an apricot’s idea of nirvana.

    That said, and putting my jealously aside 😉 here’s what I’d do if using all fresh apricots (oh that’s still stings).

    Use 2 pounds fresh and then take another 2 pounds of fresh apricots, halved and dusted with sugar, and put them in the oven at a low temperature, say 220 degrees, and let them dry out and slow roast. When dry but still plump, remove and dice and use those for the dried fruit part of the recipe. In fact, this may be an even better option. Thanks for inspiring (or shaming ) me to try this, uh, yeah with store bought apricots. 🙂 Cheers TC
    2 pound

    here no matter what

  18. HA! Thanks for the response. I was thinking of separating a portion of fruit and cooking it down with the wine, then using that as the base for the other fruit, but I like the roasting idea, I’ll give it a try.
    And don’t hate me for the backyard the tree I inherited with the house I bought in SoCal five years ago. It produces like clockwork every June. All I do is keep it watered, and prune it from time to time. It’s been a great gift!
    Thanks again, I love the recipe.

  19. Bonjour Tom,

    my mother was from Strasbourg, Alsace, which was German before WWI ended. She was the best cook and made this jam. We usually ate like kings and queens. Thank you for making this recipe available to all of us.

    Margot

  20. Margot, Strasbourg is a place I’ve always wished to visit. My first trip to Paris, I pretty much set up shop in a Marais district bakery, eating them out of Alsatian apple tarts daily.

    I was ready to hop on the first TGV to find this culinary mother ship called Alsace, and learn the ways of its bakers, cooks, farmers and diners!

  21. This recipe is divine! I just finished making a double batch, and plan to make another double batch over the next few days. Central California is blessed with a number of Blenheim Apricot orchards, and I obtained a 24lb box in Hollister, last weekend. Because I had so much fresh fruit, I roasted my own apricots.

    I know that this preserves recipe is going to make outstanding gifts and reminders of summer, throughout the colder months. It will be great on croissants, bread, and jam-filled cookies. Thank you!

  22. Thanks for sharing this recipe, I have everything setting overnight and can’t wait to start cooking tomorrow! The smell in my kitchen this afternoon was incredible. I am planning on filling some half pints to give as gifts and some full pints to keep for myself! I can’t wait to see how this turns out, it’s only my second attempt at preserving anything, and had some issues with my strawberry jam. Do you have any advice on strawberry jam? It never set and has a slightly odd taste – from the pot I used or the pectin? Thoughts? Thanks in advance!

  23. Hi Melissa, strawberry jam is a tough one, I have trouble with setting too. My last batch is better suited for ice cream topping, not that that is such bad thing I guess.

    I sometimes grate a couple granny smith apples into the jam and their natural pectin will thicken it up and their flavor is masked by the strawberries. Good Luck, apricots thicken easily in jam and their consistency suits jam making and jam makers to a T.

  24. So happy I discovered your blog! It’s a delight.

    I bought “Mes Confitures” earlier this year and have been delighted with the two jams I’ve made so far. What a treasure trove of recipes!

    This double-apricot preserve is one I’m determined to make this summer (admittedly, mostly because I adore gewurztraminer). Just wondering if you used regular dried Turkish apricots or the more tart-tasting California ones in your jam?

  25. Tania, I use California apricots just because I have a good local source for them. The Gewurtz, is absorbed by the dried apricots so you’ll be in apricot wine drenched heaven. Let me know how it goes 😉

  26. Thanks for the quick reply Tom! The apricot preserve turned out SO well and was so easy, thank you so much for this. I am about to go enjoy some on a triple vanilla ice cream. As far as the strawberries, do you use a reactive or non-reactive pot for that? I’ve heard that using copper or another reactive metal somehow helps the pectin do its job?

    • I always use a non-reactive pan. I’ve ruined many a recipe in straight copper and questionable metal alloy pans. I’d say stick with stainless. Mainly because jams have an acid added like lime or lemon juice — two juices I use to clean copper, so that tells you something. Good luck!

  27. Hi Tom – I found your blog at Schnitzel and the Trout and am so happy to find this amazing recipe. Apricot jam is a family favorite and I expect to see the fruit this weekend at my farmers’ market. We are lucky to live in the Pacific NW where we have so many wonderful fruits and vegetables to choose from.

    • Hi Cathy, love your blog’s title 😉 and your blog of course. Look forward to being a regular visitor and sharing some recipes. Thanks for the visit!

  28. Thank you, Tom! I used your recipe last summer when I was “under the weather” going through chemo. I chose the recipe because I could take naps while letting the mixture cool and thicken. The wonderful surprise was how amazing the preserves were. I am normally very generous with my kitchen products but I became down right stingy with the last few jars.
    I’m planning ahead this year and making more batches. The dried apricots are soaking and the other ingredients are in the frig awaiting processing tomorrow. Mmmmm.

  29. Hi Tom, as I write, I have a quadruple quantity of apricots working their way to a simmer and the oven full of roasting cots. Question: For the wine, since I’m not using it to soak dried fruit, do you suggest just adding 10 oz per recipe to the pot of apricots? at what point do you think is best? Just the smell of what is on the stove is intoxicating. Thank you for sharing! Btw, in the future, I have an abundant supply of very affordable apricots from a farmer in Wenatchee that I often struggle finding a home for (right now I have about 4 -5 boxes), I would be happy to share. I’m located in Shoreline.

  30. Hi JoAnna, I would add the wine when everything is put together in the simmering pan. Maybe add it and let it sit an hour or so just so the apricots absorb the wine and then bring it up to temperature to simmer. Thanks for the awesome offer of apricots. If my local ‘dealer’ doesn’t come through I’ll let you know ASAP. Thanks again for the kind offer.

  31. Hi again, Tom … I made this jam earlier this week, with dried Cali apricots as you’d recommended. It knocked my socks off (and not because I used too much Gewurz!). One of the best jams I’ve ever tasted, let alone made myself. Thanks so much for the advice!

    Am making the Apricot & Nectarine Jam with Ginger from “Mes Confitures” tonight … Need I add that my expectations of being delighted once again are high?

  32. Tania, that is so funny, as I just picked up some local cots and nectarines and plan on making that same jam this weekend.

    The one with apricot and raspberry looks pretty awesome as well. May break into my frozen berry stash and try that too.

  33. Enjoy! The Apricot and Nectarine with Ginger is, in my opinion, not quite as divine as the Double Apricot with Gewurz, but still utterly delectable.

    One word of advice: unlike most other recipes in the Ferber book, this one doesn’t call for straining out the macerated fruit and cooking down the syrup before reintroducing the fruit for a final 5-min boil. You are instead supposed to cook it all together from the get-go. I’m sure there’s a good reason for her having developed the recipe this way, but knowing how long it took me to get her other preserves to reach a setting point, I opted to ignore her instructions and cooked the liquid first. Good thing, too, as it was quite runny and took a remarkably long time to start setting. Then I added the fruit and candied ginger for the final 5-8 minutes before canning.

    It’s peach season here in Ontario, so I’m thinking the Peach with Lavender Honey is next for me …

    Anyway, happy preserving!

  34. Tom – I have just filled the last jar with this ambrosial jam. My home is redolent with its carmellly-vanilla fragrance and I am already plotting the trip to Wenatchee to get more apricots. Then I must go to France and create a fragrance in honor of the jams of Alsace. Are all of Christine’s jams this extraordinary? I must get her book!

    • Marit, she has super dreamy jam recipes, some ridiculous too, but I still love them all — so glad you made the Apricot jam — it really is special. I tend to horde it.

  35. Just found your site while looking for an apricot jam recipe. Here in north Texas, we just recieved our first batch of fresh picked apricots. Have the wine need the dried and jars and I ‘m off. I will let you know how it goes! Must say, you take wonderfull pictures and write very nicely. Hope to come back and visit more of your site.

  36. Holy Smokes!!! This is the best damn jam in my jam making history!!! The layers of flavors are amazing. My family wanted to just eat it out of a bowl! Thank you so much for sharing this with us.
    And to share with you a jam making trick .. if you have a microwave, place your jars, half full of water in the micro, just before you are ready to fill the jars. turn on the micro for enough time to boil the water in the jars.12 1/2 pints took 6 mintes. Then as you need a jar, empty the water out, fill with jam, cap and turn over until cool. When cool, turn jars back over and the lids should have sealed. If not, place in fridge. the cold will continue to help seal. If not, just eat those first.You should never have to waterbath jam. I learned how to can with wax covers/no lids.

    I will have to say that this was the most exciting recipe I have ever made. I will have to look it to a new book now. Thanks again and blessings to you and the puppies.

  37. Wendy Wendy Wendy, I love enthusiasm and yours is similar to mine when it comes to making this recipe. Ironically, apricot trees say nix to our rainy cool weather, but the good news is Eastern Washington grows a mean ‘cot! In a month or so, I’ll be fixing up a whole lotta of apricot jam, and swooning around the kitchen. Thanks for the kind words and warm reception to this recipe. It is pretty awesome. Blessings to you and yours as well!

  38. Wow, I was super excited to find your recipe! It turned out great. My apriums came ripe early this year (I treat them just like apricots) and I got over 600 from my tree. You can be jealous of our hot weather fruit; I’ll be jealous of your berries.
    I used a German Riesling, and did the all-fresh and half oven-roasted method, soaking them overnight in the wine after snipping them up w/ scissors. (I put in the lime zest too, by mistake and no harm done.) I’m also stingy w/ the sugar and used a total of about 2 2/3 c, combined brown sugar, coconut palm sugar, and maple syrup, just because I like my things not-too-sweet and I happened to be all out of regular white sugar.
    Many thanks for this great recipe! Next I’m preparing a double batch!!

  39. Wow Lexi, love that you took the recipe and ran with it based on your own preferences. And yes, I sure wish I could grow an aprium here…grrrrr. 😉 Thanks for the update!

  40. So, I have just read some more of your wonderful blog and have found out that you are a champ-peen canner. Well, I feel silly now trying to tell you how to can. Time for a great laugh. Roger, my husband is laughing also.

    Have you got a great recipe for plums? I have not purchased Mes Comfits yet and was wondering if you might share…..yours or hers, that you have tried, with success?

    And by the way, I think it might be time for a new wheelbarrow. It was a good thing that Boz was there for moral support!

  41. I am pretty new to canning, but we have an apricot tree that is in full swing right now (northern California) and this recipe looks so incredible that it is in my fridge to cool overnight now. I hope that my husband stays out of it long enough for me to actually get it into jars!

    I feel a little silly having to ask, but how long should I process this in the water bath?

    Any help is much appreciated!!

    • Hi Missy. I sure am jealous of having access to homegrown apricots. They just don’t grow here unfortunately. As for how long to keep the jam in the water bath, between 10-15 is fine. High sugar items don’t need as much time. Just make sure the lids pop down tight when cool in a couple hours after the water bath. Good Luck and happy jam making!

  42. Just heard the wonderful sound of the lids popping! Thank you for your help, Tom, and for passing along a delicious recipe!

  43. I just harvested a healthy batch apricots from my temperamental tree here in Sonoma County–each year the crop depends on the timing of the rains as well as my ability to beat the birds to the prize. As I read the entries above I realized that your contributors are free to offer their advice and techniques without question. I noticed that one used a microwave for bottle sterilization while another inverted their jars after sealing. I would only advise readers to question these practices and check the website http://www.pickyourown.org/canningtips.php for advice to the contrary. Meanwhile I look forward to trying your excellent recipe this year. Thanks.

    • Hi Gerry, good luck on the apricot crop. Two of my trees just died from a borer, and I’m about ready to pitch in the ‘cot towel. As for the comments, I wish I had to time research the advice, unfortunately I don’t. But I do agree that I would neither steam nor microwave bottles. I love the link you provided, a ton of great tips: http://www.pickyourown.org/canningtips.php
      Thanks for sharing that link and I look forward to hearing what you think of this jam recipe. Apricot season from Eastern Washington is coming up in a week or two.

  44. Tom, I just heard the last lid pop on my batch of Alsatian Apricot Jam. A couple of issues I encountered: 1) the instruction to use 2 vanilla beans, I took to mean slice them open and scrape out and use the seeds. It wasn’t until the end your instructions that I read, “remove the vanilla beans” and realized I should have used the whole beans, too late; 2) even though my apricots are the small variety, I still gave the final mix a bit of a mash-down as the quarter sections seemed large for my 1/2 pint jars. I loved the addition of orange rind – gave it a nice marmalade tang. My final taste test didn’t reveal an overly vanilla infusion, but because I had no standard to judge my results against, I’m not sure what the outcome should taste like. In any case, my yield was 9 half-pints and it was fun trying something other than standard ‘cot jam for a change. Thanks.

    • Hi Gerry, I’ll amend that bit about the vanilla bean, thanks for the heads-up. And the mash down is a good idea. I think the whole bean left in until the canning process helps pump up the vanilla flavor. And I also will leave the mixture to cool down overnight and then reheat the next day for canning. That also enhances and melds the flavor I believe. Thanks for trying, okay now I need to post a some new jam recipes.

  45. Oh Tom. Even though I’ve read this recipe 3 years now? I had forgotten your comments about giving up on apricots. I’ve done gone and planted two here at the new place, flush from success with a peach tree that has produced the last two crummers (crappy+summer) in a row. I had believed with all my might it was microclimate but now I’m thinking about peach tree borers. Bummer. However, I’m dreaming of having my dehydrator loaded up with apricots instead of cherries in just two short weeks and then I’ll be back to Ferber and her marvelous magic. Thanks so much for introducing her to me! If only I could figure out a way to gift you with my plethora of fresh, creamy goats milk. The brie is divine with apricot jam…

    • A lesser gentleman would grumble and call you a show-off (Peaches you don’t say?), but I will swallow my pride and congratulate you Annette. My fruit production has been abysmal as of late and I lost a bee hive. In all honestly, I revel in all your successes and always look forward to hearing from you. Keep up the good work, and I love your book The Urban Farm Handbook: http://urbanfarmhandbook.com/ .

  46. Hi Tom,
    Starting my 3rd-annual apricot jam making “event” with your wonderful recipe. Perfect timing as I just scraped the last bit of apricot jam I had out of its jar last weekend. Thanks to you, my apricot jam has gotten quite the reputation.

    • Hi Gail, oh you make smile, spreading the apricot jam story to people! I love this recipe and should get my apricots for Eastern Washington in the next week or so.

  47. I made this yesterday with half apricots and half peaches for the fresh fruit portion, and prosecco for the wine. Turned out awesome – total winner! Thanks! 🙂

  48. Thank you so much for this absolutely fabulous jam recipe. I currently live in a tiny two up two down house on Walney Island in Cumbria, UK and besides travelling, baking, fishing and sailing one of my great pleasures is sourcing local fruit and veg to make into delicious preserves. This recipe instantly appealed as due to several years travelling around Europe in a camper van with my husband I have established quite a substantial wine cellar, both the French and German Alsace wines being some of my favourites. The jam smelt amazing whilst steeping and cooking, and is equally lovely now it has cooled. I am greatly looking forward to having some on my husband fresh sourdough bread for breakfast tomorrow…yummy

    • Hi Kate, I had to look up Walney Island to, as a friend jokes, “Edge-a-ma-cate” myself. Looks like a lovely place to call home–sweeping views, big sky and the mighty Atlantic. I’m so glad you liked the jam recipe; I’d have to say it’s my favorite. Your description made me hungry and pining for some sourdough bread/toast. Well I do have a sourdough starter, so I guess I know what I’m doing later today. 😉 Well wishes, and safe travels. Tom

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