Beautiful, pectin free soft jam with incredibly low sugar content for all types of fruit. I cooked up some tree ripe apricots again this year. Can’t live without apricot jam, so many Hungarian recipes depend on it. I now make as much as I can use within a year, jam does not last forever, not even with copious amounts of sugar and pectin. The shelf life of jam is maximum two years, after that it starts to loose its clarity and begins to brown. It will be still edible provided the lids were properly sealed, but by then the joy has gone out of them. Just to be safe and I don’t run out of apricot jam, I always freeze a few bags of peeled, notice PEELED, apricots, which I can cook up at a later day.

The thickening does not come from gelling the liquid, it comes from cooking down the excess water. This type of jam should be cooked in a wide, heavy pot in small batches. The wideness of the pot quickens evaporation the heaviness prevents scorching, and cooking it in small batches preserves the lightness. The longer you cook it the darker your jam will get.  One batch will fill four half pint jars,  [a half pint jar holds approximately 230 ml of liquid]

My grandma always cracked an apricot stone and added it to the jar before she poured in the jam. This gave her apricot jam a subtle almond flavour. Only apricot stones mind you, she insisted it was not good for you to put more in and never ever use stone from other fruits. 

Pectin Free Jam

2 pounds of prepared fruit
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
1+ Tbsp fresh lemon  juice

  • Work in a single batch. Do not double amounts.
  • Peel, seed, and chop the fruit. Always, always peel peaches and apricots. The skin of apricots is a disagreeable thing in a jam. Very. Peel it exactly like you would a peach, drop it into boiling water for a minute, then plunge it into ice water and the skin will come off.
  • Add 3/4 cup of sugar.
  • Stir it up, cover and refrigerate it overnight.
  • Most of the sugar will dissolve and the fruit would have released a substantial amount of liquid by next day.
  • Prepare the jars, lids for canning.
  • Put a large canner with hot water to the boil.  
  • Transfer all the fruit, sugar and accumulated fruit juice to a large, wide, heavy Dutch pot.
  • Bring to a slow simmer over medium heat. Stay with it and stir it frequently, the fruit will scorch easily.
  • When the fruit has softened, add the lemon juice.
  • If the texture in the pan is too chunky or the pieces are too large, crush the fruit with a potato masher.
  • Taste the jam. Add more sugar or lemon juice if needed. Continue the slow simmer and the stirring.
  • When the jam is glossy and slightly thickened, transfer a dollop to a chilled plate.
  • Run your finger through it and if the finger mark remains visible or runs together slowly, the jam is ready.
  • Adjust the taste with sugar and lemon juice and give it a final stir.
  • Ladle the jam into the warm jars, wipe the rims, put on the lids and screw on the caps.
  • Carefully submerge the jars into the boiling water.
  • Note: In case the canning was interrupted, and when you come back, make sure both the jars and the water bath are the same temperature. In other words, don’t put cold jars into a hot water bath or hot jars into cold water, thermal shock could crack your jars.

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It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. Happy cooking!