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Apricots in Syrup

Apricots in Syrup 12.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Canning Canning Class Jul 9, 2014

Here, sunny apricot halves emerge plump and pampered. Use them to top a tart, spoon over a pavlova, stir into yogurt and serve with oozy cheese. These are the jewels in the crown of the preserver's pantry.

Make this recipe with slightly underripe, unblemished apricots. Taste the fruit. If it is quite tart, use more sugar; if very sweet, use less. If you are opposed to sugar altogether, use plain water or juice.

Fruit float is inevitable; stop worrying.

Fruit Fresh is a widely available product that retards the browning of fresh fruit and vegetables.

You will need a candy thermometer. You'll need 3 sanitized pint jars with new lids and rings, and a jar lifter or coated tongs; see the NOTES, below.

Make Ahead: The canned apricots can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. Refrigerate after opening.


Servings:
12

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 12 servings; makes 3 pint jars

Ingredients
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 1 quart water
  • 1 cup sugar (see NOTES)
  • 1/2 vanilla bean or 3 fresh peeled ginger root coins or 3 wide lemon zest strips (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon Fruit Fresh (may substitute juice of 3 lemons)
  • 3 pounds (about 18 total) medium apricots

Directions

To make the syrup, combine the 1 3/4 cups water and the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add one of the optional flavorings, if desired. Turn off the heat and cover.

To keep the fruit from browning as you prepare it, combine the remaining 1 quart of cool water and the Fruit Fresh in a large bowl. Stir to dissolve. Cut the apricots in half, using the dimple as a guide; pop out the pit and drop the halves into the acidulated water. Cut away any brown spots or rotten places.

Line up the sanitized jars. Tuck the apricots into the jars, skin side down, nestling them together like spoons. About 12 halves will fit in each jar. It will take some finesse to pack the jars well. Unpack and repack as needed.

Remove the optional flavorings from the syrup; reserve them as possible jar garnishes. Snip the vanilla bean half, if using, into 3 pieces.

Return the syrup to a boil; pour it over the fruit, leaving 1/2 inch of head space. Run a chopstick or flat plastic knife along the inside of each jar and (gently) around the fruit to dislodge any air bubbles. Add the garnishes, if desired. Make adjustments as needed to maintain the 1/2-inch head space.

Clean the rim of each jar. Top with the warmed lids, and finger-tighten the rings (not too much). Process in the boiling water bath for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the jars in the water bath for 10 minutes. Use the jar lifter to transfer the jars to a clean, folded dish towel to cool for several hours.

Label and date the sealed jars. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. Refrigerate after opening.

NOTES: Halved apricots may be preserved in plain water, apple juice, white grape juice or a sugar syrup using as little as 1/4 cup or as much as 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar.

Water-bath canning safely seals high-acid, low-pH foods in jars. The time for processing in the water bath is calculated based on the size of the jar and the consistency and density of the food. For safety's sake, do not alter the jar size, ingredients, ratios or processing time in any canning recipe. If moved to change any of those factors, simply put the prepared food in the refrigerator and eat within a week.

Fill a large canning kettle or deep stockpot two-thirds full with water. To keep the jars from rattling against the pot, place a rack in the pot. (A cake rack works well; a folded dish towel is equally effective.) Sanitize the jars in a short dishwasher cycle or by boiling them in a canning kettle or pot for 10 minutes. Fill a small saucepan with water and add the rings. Bring to a boil over high heat, slip in the lids and turn off the heat.

Use a jar lifter or tongs to lower the filled, sealed jars into the boiling water bath, keeping them upright. When all of the jars are in place, the water should be 1 to 2 inches above the jar tops. Add water as needed. Bring the water to a low boil before starting the timer for processing.

At the end of processing, turn off the heat and let the jars sit in the water bath until the boiling has stopped. That will reduce siphoning, in which the food burbles up under the lid, breaking the seal. Use the jar lifter or tongs to transfer the jars to a folded towel, keeping them upright. Leave the jars until they have completely cooled, at least 12 hours. Remove the rings and test the seal by lifting each jar by the lid. The lid should hold fast. Label and store in a cool, dry, dark space.


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Recipe Source

From Cathy Barrow, author of "Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round Preserving" (Norton, November 2014).

Tested by Cathy Barrow.

E-mail questions to the Food Section.

E-mail questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.

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