How to Make Small Batch Apricot Preserves

Marmellata di Albicoche (Apulia) (1) Everyone likes to make their own fruit preserves because it’s so easy.  But have you noticed that when you look for recipes they tend to be written for someone who has tons of the fruit or a family of twelve.  That’s one of the reasons I wasn’t making my own preserves.  Plus isn’t it easier to just go to the supermarket and pick up a jar of preserves?  Well, it might be, but every now and then you will have bought a fruit that is just impossibly delicious–usually some kind of mid-summer fruit that was bought at a farmers market and which is so good you eat it standing over the sink.

But you just don’t need a ten-year supply.  So I did it.  I bought just one pound of these delicious apricots and turned them into preserves. They fill just one small jar which is all I need and which will probably last me until the fall.  And are they good?  OMG, no comparison!  They are actually far better than the store-bought jar.  Now that’s satisfaction.
Apricot Preserves
When making apricot preserves make sure your apricots are not overripe, which would be fine if you were to eat them immediately, but for making preserves they would then be too hard to peel and too mushy. You will have to judge when the apricots are done by the color: they should be golden amber and not brown or dark. Don’t walk away, you do need to pay attention even though the cooking is slow.
1 1/4 pounds apricots, washed well, dried, peeled with a vegetable peeler, stoned, and chopped coarsely
1long lengths of lemon peel and the juice from 1/2 lemon
3/4 pound sugar
1. In a glass or ceramic bowl, stir the apricots, lemon juice, and sugar together and let sit for 3 hours.
2. Transfer to a large saucepan with the reserved lemon peel and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is golden amber and the liquid quite thick, about 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Transfer a  clean and dry glass container. Cover with a piece of cheesecloth and seal. Refrigerate as you use it.
Makes about 3 cups

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