Saturday I was headed to the Big Orange Box store for the 3rd time for a yard project when I drove past a house at the end of the street with a sign that said "Free apricots" with a ladder all ready to go in the yard-sweet! I stopped by and knocked on the door and the gentleman who lived there was happy to have the fruit go to a good home. It was great to chat with him while I picked about 2 grocery bags of apricots.
I knew I was going to make some jam, but I wanted something more interesting than usual. Some searching around the internet and I saw that adding in peppers was popular. That sounded great. I've done jalapeno jelly before and it was tasty. I pulled out my Ball Canning book (the blue one) and saw that the recipe for regular apricot jam didn't call for pectin. Hmmm, I haven't done that before, so I hedged my bets and used 1 package of liquid pectin during the last 1 minute of cooking. Just in case.
8 cups apricot puree (about 12 cups of whole fruit...maybe 5 pounds?)
6 cups sugar
3 habanero peppers
1 teaspoon butter
1 pouch liquid pectin (optional...the recipe didn't call for it)
I washed the apricots in the sink and then used my fingers to split them in 1/2 and pull out the pits. I then pureed (chunky) the fruit in my food processor.
I removed the seeds from the peppers and tossed them in the processor along with about 1 cup of the fruit puree.
Mix the fruit and sugar in a large pot (I used my 8 quart dutch oven) and bring to a boil on medium heat. Stir occasionally and cook until reduced about half (took about 25 minutes for me). The color goes from the light, bright color to a dark caramel-ly color. I also used a thermometer to check when it got to about 220 degrees. For the last minute of cooking, I added 1 pouch of liquid pectin and boiled for one minute, then filled my sterilized jars (makes about 5 pints) and processed in a water bath for 15 minutes.
Tastes great. It does have a kick, but the cooking tones it down from when I tasted the raw puree. Serve with cream cheese on crackers or as a side for pork or chicken. Could be a tasty replacement for cranberry sauce on a sandwich. My mom suggested it as a dipping sauce for fried cream cheese wontons. Hmmm, a trip to the store for won ton wrappers may be in order tonight.