Nightshift Recipe – Apricot Mexican Vanilla Jam

In a previous entry I mentioned that while fiancé is on the nightshift I like to cook. Well I had an opportunity to try something new last night since a co-worker brought in wonderfully juicy apricots from her tree. I decided to try my hand at making jam. I was also dying to use the Mexican Vanilla I got from the San Diego House of Coffee and Tea so I decided to make some Apricot Mexican Vanilla Jam without using pectin.

Though it takes a lot of time, this jam is very easy to make. First you will need these things:

1) 2 tablespoons of water (not shown in photo below)
2) 3 cups of castor sugar – if you cannot find it in the store, you can easily make it yourself at home from regular granulated sugar using a blender, coffee grinder or food processor (which is what I did – I used the blender). Click here for directions.
3) 3 cups of ripe apricots
4) 2 teaspoons of Mexican Vanilla (if you do not have Mexican vanilla you can use a vanilla bean or teaspoons of regular Vanilla extract)
5) A lemon – the recipe I modified called for 1/3 of a cup of lemon juice – I would use much less next time, personally. You can adjust this according to how much lemon you like. I would suggestion using just under a quarter of a cup.
6) Put a small plate in the freezer when you get started – do not use something delicate like china (anything dishwasher safe should be fine). Paper plate will not work.
7) Saucepan
8) Stirring spoon
9) knife to cut apricots with – do your chopping on a clean surface
10) Warm glass container with seal to put the jam into so it can set
*There is NO pectin in this recipe.

A quick sidenote: If you make the castor sugar yourself, it should not be the same consistency as powdered sugar. It will look along these lines after you blend or grind it. You might be able to see that it is a bit more ‘broken down’ than regular granulated sugar:

Next, slice apricots in half and remove the pits. You can leave the skins on for cooking, no problem. Then chop them into bite size pieces (try not too eat too many – haha). My knife is by Kyocera. It’s ceramic and they are the best knives I’ve ever used.

I used fresh lemon juice. Just slice and squeeze:

Now put two tablespoons of water into a somewhat deep saucepan along with all of the apricots. Turn your burner to medium and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir often. It will look like this after a minute and a half:

And like this after 10 minutes:

Now add the Mexican vanilla and lemon juice. If you use a real vanilla bean, remove the beans and put them in with the apricots. You can also throw the pod in. You just remove the pod at the end before you store your jam.

Now add the sugar:

It will dissolve fairly quickly:

Bring to a rapid boil. Stir frequently.

After it has begun boiling, turn the heat down and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. I simmered for 20 minutes. It will look like a thick liquid and you might think, “Oh no! I did this wrong!” Do not worry!

Go get your plate out of the freezer, and do a test. Take a spoonful of the jam and put it on the plate for a few minutes. Three minutes is good. Run your finger through the jam. If the line remains, then the jam is done. If the jam runs back together, then you need to simmer it a bit longer. You can see in this photo the jam set-up on the cool plate and the line remained. Voi la it was done!

Put the jam in a clean (preferably sterilized in a dishwasher), warm glass container and seal for at least 24 hours.

Open it up and stir it around. You will see the consistency is perfect! I baked up some mini-biscuits really quickly and served it up! Enjoy your jam!