Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Apricot Jam and livin' on the edge

A few days ago I saw Tartelettes post about cherry pits, I was intrigued. I checked out Egg beaters post about stone fruits and their pits. I read that almond extract is made from apricot pits. I think I knew this at one time but I had forgot. I was totally stoked about buying some apricots and making some jam but now was I going to include the kernels or not? Supposedly the heating process denatures the toxicity of the kernel. I read many pros and cons on the internet and some jam books I have about including the kernels. Some people include the kernel but then take it out right before they jar it. I decided I would go for the kernel in the jam. Luckily, I found some fresh, local apricots at the market.

If nothing else my house smelled so good while making this jam. It is delicious. I ate a kernel. I am still alive.

When I was 19 I decided I wanted to take some English riding lessons. I paid for them myself and took a class. They told us we could feed the horses apples but we would have to core them before we did so. What? Well, their explanation was that the pits have cyanide and it was cumalitive in the horses body. So while the pits may not kill them from one apple, after 100 apples it may just be the bit that did. I have no idea if this is true or if this is even true for humans. I wonder, does anyone know if it is stored in the fat cells of our body? As you can see I am still intrigued and will investigate this further.

*Certainly leave the kernels out if you do not want to live on the edge. And just in case you are wondering I won't let the kids eat the kernels.  You know, just in case I am wrong.

Apricot Jam with the Kernel
Yield: a little over 5 half pints.

1 kg (roughly five or six cups) apricots, chopped into small pieces
1 kg sugar*
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1. Sterilize jars in boiling water. Let them dry.

2. Wash and clean the apricots, reserving the pits.

3. Crack the pits with a nut cracker, discard shell. Blanch the kernels and place in cold water. Remove the skins.

4. In a non reactive pot, combine apricots, sugar and lemon juice. Cook until it begins to boil. It will foam up pretty high. Keep the mixture at a simmer until the liquid reaches gel stage. Test for gel stage (use a small dish that you have placed in the freezer prior to starting this process).

5. Place two kernels in each jar before ladling in the jam.

6. Once you have filled the jars (leaving a 1/4 inch head space, clean rim of jar, place lids on and screw the bands on. Turn them upside down for ten minutes and then right side up. Making sure that the tops have depressed into the jar. Wait a while if one or two have not depressed you can turn the jars upside down and try again for ten minutes. This should do the trick.

*If you do not have a scale you can measure the apricots out and use equal sugar amount. 


Lucy said...

Thumbs UP!! This looks so good, and surely tasting wonderful too!

I also love the beans and what you've done w/them!

I've had computer problems, old laptop, replaced w/a new one, yea! My DS kept telling it was time, and he was right ;-)

kat said...

I didn't know about putting the kernels in jam. Do you take them out when you serve the jam?

Anonymous said...

This is my grandma's favorite. It must have took a lot of apricots to make a decent amount of jam!

Grace said...

that's a gorgeous and assuredly tasty jam.
and for the record, i've never heard that about horses, nor have our keeled over yet and i'm sure we've fed them all well over 100 apples in their lifetimes. :)

Lori said...

Thanks Lucy. I keep checking your blog. Hope all is well now.

Kat- You can eat the kernels. You dont have to serve it with the jam. Their are about 4 kernels or so per jar- so not too much. You can pull them out and eat them.

OSB- I had about two quarts to make 5 1/2 pints. Something liek that- But oh so worth it. I cant wait to smear it on some scones!

Grace- Those people were crazy. You should have heard what they did to me with the bit.

Tartelette said...

My family will tell you that apricot jam without pits is sacrilege!! We always fight over the few my mom puts in there!
Great job on the jam!

The Blonde Duck said...

Look at you, you rebellious jam-maker!

Ingrid said...

Wow, Lori aren't you just a wild and crazy girl!?

Thanks for the info. I never knew any of that.

Anonymous said...

My mother always ate the pips from her apples, funnily enough my youngest daughter does too. No waste there, only the stalk is left.

Katy ~ said...

As I sit here eating an English muffin, I am wishing for some of your delicious apricot jam. It looks so good! Well done. LOL about the pits. Never knew such a debate existed.

Murasaki Shikibu said...

Lori, the kernels do contain amygdalin, a toxic cyanogenic glycoside, so the key is not to eat too many. I believe your body flushes them out though so it's not like it will accumulate over the years.

"On average, an apricot kernel contains about 0.5mg of cyanide."

Sara said...

Wow, I did not know anything about these kernels or about where almond extract came from. I always assumed almonds. Very interesting. Apricot is my favorite kind of jam/jelly.

Donna-FFW said...

Quite interesting info. Love to learn tidbits like this..

Your jam sounds outstanding!

Pat said...

I buy apricots just to eat the pits. I try to eat the inside of the pit of one apricot everyday.
It has vitamin B17(laetril) and cancer killing properties. I freeze enough pits to last me all year.
The cyanide scare is bogus.