In the middle of a heat wave, canning is the last thing I want to do. The pool beckons, preferably with an iced coffee and a good book. But with so much great fruit around, it would be a crime to not try and save some for those long winter days. So in the dark of the night, after the kids have collapsed into bed, I do some canning to fill my pantry with summer fruit. Free of distractions, with a cold glass of wine and Adele playing softly, I can get my fruit canned in under an hour, easily. In front of my cauldron, bubbling away while the house sleeps, I feel a little like a witch, but a nice one with only the best intentions.
Strawberrry jam. Blueberry balsamic jam. Bourbon peach preserves. They’re my old standards and are all lined up and ready to go. But this year, I’m trying to get a little creative and move beyond jams and jellies in my summer canning. The latest copy of the All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving has been getting me inspired, but the Freshly Preserved Ideas Tumblr is also full of great recipes and entertaining centerpieces.
This isn’t your grandmother’s canning book. It’s filled with gorgeous airy photography and fun recipes like Blood Orange Ginger Marmalade and shows you how to take that marmalade and turn it into Citrus-Glazed Roast Chicken. Fun, right?
Apricots are Juju’s favorite fruit. She can’t get enough. We stock them in the fridge all summer and she pops them like candy. This winter, I can’t wait to surprise her with these honey apricots to serve at breakfast in yogurt or with a little whipped cream for dessert.
Did you know that tomorrow is Can It Forward Day? Don’t wait until the world is gray and snowy and sweet fruit is just a sad memory. What gorgeous summer fruit will you choose to preserve?
- 3½ Cups Water (875ml)
- 1 Cup Honey (250 ml)
- ¼ Cup of Lemon Juice (60 ml)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest
- ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 5 lbs firm, ripe apricots, halved and pitted
- Combine the water, honey, lemon juice, cinnamon stick, and lemon zest in a 6-quart stainless steel or enameled Dutch oven. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean, add seeds and vanilla bean to honey mixture.
- Bring to a boil; add apricot halves. Return to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes. Remove and discard cinnamon stick and vanilla bean.
- Pack hot apricot halves, cut side down, in a hot jar, leaving ½ inch headspace. Ladle hot syrup over apricots, leaving ½ inch of head space. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band, and adjust to fingertip tight.
- Place jar in boiling water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled.
- Process jars 20 minutes in boiling water. Turn off heat. Remove lid and let jars stand 5 minutes. Remove jars from water canner and let cool.