Apricots are one of the best sources of Beta Carotene an antioxidant that helps prevent cardiovascular diseases and cancer. They grow mostly in California where they thrive in the Mediterranean-like weather. It was said that Apricots were originally cultivated in Virginia by Spanish settlers but when they did not flourish there, the settlers decided to cultivate Apricots in the sunny state of California.
Apricot Jelly is a fun way of eating the fruit, you can mix it in both sweet and savory dishes to add the fruity tart flavors of Apricots.
Apricot Jelly Trivia
- Apricots were originally cultivated in China 4000 years ago. Every part of the Apricot tree is used for ancient Chinese medicine.
- The United States celebrates World Apricot Day every January 9. During this time, people make Apricot preserves, jams, and jellies.
- Moorpark Apricot trees produce one of the largest and sweetest Apricots in the United States. They are as large as peaches but still maintain the sweetness, fragrance, and flavors of any other Apricots.
Apricot Jelly Buying Guide
Apricot jellies are truly a child’s delight. The delicate orange and viscous liquid stabilize into a jiggly jelly that smells like summer. Buying Apricot jellies gives a nostalgic feeling to ourselves. We believe jelly-making should be traditionally produced and homemade like the old ways. Although there are a lot of sugars in jellies, you can be sure that the artisan jellies you bought are made by local artisans and jam producers.
On the other hand, commercially produced Apricot jellies are full of artificial sugars, chemicals, food colorings, and chemical flavorings that harm the body.
Apricot Jelly Production & Farming in Texas
Apricots are delicious and interesting fruits, but they’re one of the hardest fruits to grow in Texas. Apricots have beautiful trees and delicate fruits but they often undergo a very inconsistent cropping process. Different types of Apricots grown in Texas include Bryan, Hungarian, Moorpark, and Peggy. Bryan Apricots in Texas are in season from May to June. They have an orange exterior and a yellow exterior. Blenheim Apricots are medium-sized with an orange exterior and a yellow flesh. They consistently grow throughout the state and are harvested during June. Meanwhile, Moorpark Apricots can also be harvested in June and has medium to large fruits; and Robado Apricots easily grow in Texas and is one of the farmers’ favorites. With those being said, Apricots are still one of the most difficult fruits to grow in Texas because they start as blooming trees, producing crops or fruits every 2 to 5 years but then the great disappointment comes when the blooms get destroyed by the freezing Texan weathers.
Preservatives and Chemicals
Artisan jam, jelly, and preserves making in Texas has long been practiced for long and has been passed from one generation to another. Most Texans pride themselves on the flavors of their lineage, extending to the latest generations to enjoy. But what makes artisanal jams more appealing than the commercially produced ones? Of course, we can argue on the high sugar levels and the almost synthetic aftertaste from mass-produced jams. However, it’s so much more than that. It’s the memory of our grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and ancestors laboriously peeling, crushing, and mixing the best apricots to make the sweetest and most memorable jams, not only for ourselves but for our loved ones and neighbors.
So how do you pick the best Apricots for jam-making? Some jam makers say Moorpark is the best Apricots for Jams because of their unique flavor and consistency which are just right for jam making. Other Texan jam makers prefer to leave the peels of the apricots when they make the jam.
Canning, jam, and preserving always go along with each other. One simply cannot exist without the other. In this regard, canning is one of the most essential techniques in preserving food. Doing it properly can extend a food’s shelf life but sloppy canning can lead to bacterial and mold growth.
Again, we want to emphasize that canning jars can be used again but the flat lids should only be used once and should be replaced for hygienic purposes.
Enjoying Apricot Jellies
The best way to eat Apricot Jelly in Texas is when it’s in season from April to May. Make your breakfasts sweeter with Apricot jelly by spreading it to your pancakes and crepes, don’t forget to add some slithered almonds and fresh blueberries for the fruity punch.
Apricot Jelly can also be added to Czech Kolaches which was also featured here are TexasRealFood. We can almost imagine the scent of warm and freshly baked Kolache bread filled with thick, homemade Apricot preserve fillings, although we suggest alternating it with cream cheese fillings and blueberry or prune fillings to transform it into a Christmas-like ornament.
Any unopened jars of jellies do not have to be refrigerated because they haven’t been exposed to air yet. However, opened jelly should be refrigerated for at least 1 month after opening. Even though jams are preserved foods, the fermentation of the natural flavors of the fruits, along with their reactions to the sugars and the other additives changes the flavor, aroma, and mouthfeel.
Another thing to remember is that packaging spoils the flavor. Very few people have reacted to the glassy taste of jams in their glass bottles compared to their plastic containers
OLD-FASHIONED APRICOT JELLY
5 cups peeled pitted chopped apricots
1 1⁄2 cups water
1⁄3 cup fresh lemon juice
6 cups sugar
2 (3 ounce) envelopes liquid pectin
- Combine apricots and water.
- Over medium heat bring mixture to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer gently for 5 minutes
- Take pan off heat; skim and let set 30 minutes.
- Sieve the apricots and strain juice from pulp (use pulp in apricot jam).
- Line sieve with 4 layers of clean damp cheese cloth.
- Strain; cover the juice and refrigerate overnight.
- Ladle the juice from container, being careful not to disturb the sediment from bottom using 3 cups of juice.
- To make the jelly, combine juices when they are warm add sugar.
- Stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved, bring to a rolling boil.
- Pour pectin in, bring to a rolling boil again, stirring constantly for 1 minute, to avoid burning.
- Remove pan from heat; skim off foam.
- Ladle into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.
- Water bath for 15 minutes.