Introduction: Apricot Habanero Jam
There’s this pepper sauce that I LOVE back in California. They make an original and a spicy cranberry, but my favorite is the apricot habanero. I know it sounds like it is burn your eyes off hot, but it is the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. Both the regular and the original pepper sauces start with a base of apricots to give it that sweetness. So when my mother-in-law gave me a bunch of apricots, I decided to re-create my own Apricot Habanero pepper sauce.
It turned out AMAZING!! I could honestly eat this stuff with a spoon, it is so good! But I know I say that about every sweet and spicy jam I make. Fresh habaneros are not something come by easily in my part of the country, so I used dried habaneros instead. I just re-hydrated them before I put them in the jam. My favorite uses for this sweet and spicy jam is pouring it over cream cheese as an appetizer or using it as a dipping sauce for grilled smoked sausages. I think this would also be delicious on a turkey sandwich or burger as well.
Recipe can also be found at Prairie Californian.
Step 1: Equipment
Make sure you are using jars that were made for canning. Don’t try and use leftover jars from spaghetti sauces, jams, or other things that come in glass jars. I use Kerr or Ball jars with rubber rimmed lids, and screw top rings. You can find the jars, lids, and rings at most grocery stores. You will want to inspect your jars for cuts or nicks (if using used jars) as well as your lids to ensure the rubber is good on them, no cuts or pieces missing.
A wide mouth funnel has a larger opening at the bottom. This allows things like chunky salsas, jams or preserves, or anything else chunky you may be canning to fit through. A typical funnel has a very narrow base. Tip from someone messy like me. Buy a Wide Mouth Funnel, you will spend more time cleaning up your jars than you will filling them. A funnel makes filling jars extremely simple and quick. And a lot less messy.
You don’t need any sort of fancy ladle. Any sort of ladle will work. Why use a ladle versus a spoon? A ladle is simply easier to scoop and pour hot liquids into the jars using the funnel. You can see my super fancy ladle in the photo above.
I use a regular pair of tongs as part of my regular canning equipment. I use the tongs to retrieve lids as well as submerge and retrieve empty jars. Some people use a fancy lid wand (a stick with a magnet on it) to remove lids from the boiling pot, I have found my tongs work just fine for me.
When I first canned, I didn’t pick one of these up. Just do yourself a favor and get one. It makes lifting filled jars out of your canning pot 110 times easier. A Ball Jar Lifter is specially designed to fit around jars and retrieve them from your canning pot. Many companies like Ball sell a Canning Starter Kit, which includes a jar lifter, a lid wand, and some other equipment.
Canning Pot & 1 Other Large Pot
So you will need some sort of pot to submerge all your filled jars into to “process” them. I bought a pot specially designed to can. It is a Granite Ware Water-Bath Canner with Rack, 21.5-Quart. It has a fancy rack in it that makes my life easier. Some people can using their regular pots and pans, but you will need to invest in a rack. The jars cannot just sit on the bottom of the pot. They make canning pots in several different sizes, I have one of the smaller sizes and it works for me. You will also need another large pot if you are going to be making something like a jam or jelly that needs to be boiled. I use my regular stock pot for this. Whatever big boiling pot you’ve got will work just fine.
Lots of Clean Towels and Paper Towels
Canning is messy. You will need a lot of towels. When hot jars come out of the boiling water at any time, you will need a place to set them. I always put them on top of towels. This also acts as a buffer between your potentially cold counter coming in contact with your hot jars and breaking them. I use paper towels to wipe the rims of the jars before I put the lids on them.
Optional: Candy Thermometer
If you are going to be making jams or jellies, you will need a candy thermometer. Many jams and jellies recipes require them to reach a certain temperature. A candy thermometer hooks on the side of your pot.
Read more about Intro to Canning here.
Step 2: Ingredients
3-4 cups apricots, diced
3 bell peppers (yellow or orange), diced
3 habanero peppers (can use fresh or dried)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
5 cups sugar
1 package of liquid pectin
Step 3: Directions
1. Clean and sterilize jars, rings, and lids.
2. To a large heavy bottomed pot, add apricots, bell peppers, sugar, and vinegar. If using fresh habaneros, add with the other ingredients. Mix and bring to a boil. Boil for 15-20 minutes or until the apricots start to break down.
3. If using dried habaneros, rehydrate them by putting them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over the top. Let sit for 2-3 minutes until they soften. Carefully dice the peppers and add to the pot. Mix and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.
4. Once the apricots have broken down and the jam has thickened, add the liquid pectin and boil for another minute.
5. Remove from heat, skim off any foam, and ladle jam into sterilized jars. Leave 1/4 inch headspace and process in a water bath for 10 minutes. You can also refrigerate and use within a couple weeks.
Step 4: Find Prairie Californian
For more recipes or updates from Prairie Californian, you can find me here:
> Website: http://prairiecalifornian.com
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> Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/prairieca/
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