Many years ago while doing a study abroad program in Morocco, we spent a lot of time eating the best bread and apricot jam I have ever had. We ate it for breakfast, lunch and even just for a snack.
This last week our local farmers market was chock full of tasty sun-ripened apricots. I bought a bunch and made a delicious apricot jam. Unfortunately, it rained non-stop and I was unable to finish it in the sun, but if you have the opportunity to do so, your jam will be better than you imagine. Apricots are full of vitamin A and potassium among other things. BC Apricots are amazing!
The recipe below originates from one of my favorite cookbooks (I know I say that all the time!) A fantastic Turkish cookbook, Classical Turkish Cooking, which also gives an interesting look into the history of food and public dining. I have altered it to make it suitable for folks on the GAPS or SCD diets, as well as changed the method slightly. I highly recommend this cookbook as it is full of interesting cultural information as well as fantastic traditional recipes.
Sun-Cooked Apricot Jam
Turkish housewives often take advantage of the sun’s rays to finish cooking their jams and marmalades. It is pleasant to see colorful bowls of jam lined up in rows on the edge of balconies and in backyards. My friend Turkan Ersin tells me that jams matured by being left in the sun keep longer and never crystallize, a frequent hazard of jam making. Classical Turkish Cooking (p254)
Makes about 4 16 oz jars
- 2 pounds firm apricots (weight after pitting)
- 3/4 -1 c honey (adjust according to your taste preference)
- 15 oz water
- juice of 1 lemon
Wash and drain apricots and remove pits, leaving fruit whole.
Heat honey in the water in a non-corroding saucepan. Raise heat to medium and boil syrup about 15 minutes to thicken slightly. This will be about 214 to 217 degrees on a candy thermometer. Add apricots and simmer about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand several hours or overnight.
With a slotted spoon remove apricots to a bowl; simmer the syrup, which is thinned with the juices from the apricots, for about 10 minutes, until it thicken. Return apricots to the syrup and simmer 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and cook 1 or 2 minutes longer, remove from heat.
Put jam in a large shallow glass or ceramic container, drape with cheesecloth, and set out in direct sunlight until it has thickened to the desired consistency. Under the hot Mediterranean or Aegean sun the jam is ready in only a week or so. Store in clean airtight jars. (p255)
You can prepare various types of fruit using this method, plums apricots, peaches and tart apples can all be prepared this way.
These types of preserves are traditionally made all over Africa and the Middle East, I have found a good recipe from Lebanon: Traditional Lebanese Apricot Sun Jam Recipe as well as a good recipe from South Africa (you have to scroll down to find the recipe here).