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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Canning or Bottling Apricots

I know the apricots are not on anymore, but maybe next year you will be able to use this!  Sometimes that's how the posting goes around here, there just isn't always time to post when the canning is happening.

Bottled apricots are yummy and easy.  Well, unless you don't like apricots, but that's just unnatural. ;)

Get some apricots.  It's actually a good thing if they're not quite ripe.  Super ripe apricots kind of turn to mush in the jar when they are canned.  Use any extra ripe or mushy ones for apricot freezer jam or fruit leather, and save the firmer ones for canning.  It is really best to get your apricots from a tree rather than from the store--they taste better (isn't that true for any fruit?), but do what you can.

Get some water heating in a pot for syrup (don't add sugar yet) and your boiling water canner heating up.

Get your jars washed and ready and your lids out and put them in a pot of hot water also so the rubbery stuff can soften up.

Now wash your apricots.  Don't wash them and then use them another day--the water gets inside and turns it brown.  Wash them and use them right away.  You do not need to peel them.

Use the crack in the apricot as a guide to cut around the apricot and get the pit out.  If they are nice and firm, you can just tear them apart at the crack and they'll split in half.

Once your apricots are halved, drop them in a solution of 2 TB Fruit Fresh and 2 quarts water.  You could also use lemon juice or crushed up vitamin C tablets or ascorbic acid powder in your water.  This step helps preserve the color of your apricots when they are canned.

When you've got a bunch in the Fruit Fresh solution, pull some out, shake the excess liquid off, and put them in jars.  If you want to mess with them and get them all round side up, be my guest.  It looks nice, but I never want to take the time to do it.  They taste the same either way.

Now, we're going to make syrup as we process the jars instead of cooking it up separately before, so add 1/8 cup sugar to each pint or 1/4 cup sugar to each quart of apricots.

Once the sugar is added, pour your hot water from your pot into the jars and use your butter knife (even though Ball doesn't recommend it, I've used a butter knife for years) or chopstick or special bubble freer tool to get the air bubbles out.  Stick your tool into the jar along the side in 3 or 4 places and kind of wiggle the jar contents around to get any air out that was trapped among the apricots.  Top the jar off with more water if needed so the liquid comes to the neck of the jar (just below the threads where your lid screws on).  In the picture above, the two at the bottom are ready for lids.

Wipe the rims of the jars so you get any goo off of them and apply the hot lids and screw the rings on.  Once your jars have their lids on, put them in the canner.  Drop them into the water, put the canner lid on, and process pints 20 minutes and quarts 25 minutes in boiling water.  If the water isn't boiling when you put the jars in, start timing when the water starts boiling.

When they're done in the canner, pull them out and put them on the rack to cool.  I turn my oven rack upside down and put a plate under the one end and use that as my cooling rack.  Easy and free.

After they've cooled off, you might want to wipe them off again if they show any signs of stickiness, label them and put them in your food room or cupboard.  Or dress them up with a circle of fabric under the ring and enter them in your town fair.  :)

Beautiful and tasty too.  Bottled apricots.

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