Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Colleen's Poison Jam

Ok, folks, you are in for a real treat today. I'm going to share a recipe for, quite simply, the best jam in the whole world. This summer I've already made strawberry jam, sour cherry jam, and lots of blueberry marmalade. They are all very, very good. But nothing touches Colleen's Poison Jam which I am sharing here with her permission.

The first thing you should know it that it isn't actually poison, but it's so good that you'd willingly eat it even if it were. Back in March we took a trip down south to visit Colleen and her lovely family in California. We had a wonderful week and when our departure day arrived, I was quite sad about leaving. Colleen had thoughtfully gotten up early, thrown together some fabulous scones, and served them with an array of tasty homemade jams. The apricot was absolutely divine and I was delighted when she pulled a couple of jars out of the freezer and gave them to me to take home.

It was a long drive and I thought about the jam tucked away under the seat quite a few times. After many hours, we got home and unpacked and went about the business of switching from vacation mode to real life mode and it was quite a few days before I thought about the jam again. When I went looking for it, it wasn't in the refrigerator where it belonged. Both jars were right where I left them under the seat in the van.

In my defense, I will say that the weather was very cool and rainy all week. It never could have heated up in the van. And jam is full of sugar, a natural preservative. When I brought the jars in, I told the kids in no uncertain terms not to touch the jam as it was surely spoiled. And then I proceeded to eat an entire jar myself in the pre-Passover rush to get all the bread out of the house. My kids eventually realized that I wasn't dying from the jam and they took care of the rest of it. And thus the (terribly unfair) name was born.

I'm sure many of you are shrieking in horror by now. But here's the thing. I would risk my life for this jam. It's that good. And there wasn't a thing in the world wrong with it despite all my husband's grim doomsday warnings.

I thought it must be terribly complicated to make such a lovely treat but in fact it's a snap. Really. Couldn't be easier. Apricots, sugar, lemon juice, a pat of butter, and a vanilla bean which is crucial to the heavenly flavor. The only thing I changed was the method of preservation. Instead of freezing, my jars have been water bath canned so they're safe for long car rides and forgetful gift recipients. It takes about half an hour to make a couple of pints of the loveliest apricot jam ever. Apricots are in all the farmers markets these days (at least in our area) so don't miss your chance!

Printable recipe here.


Mimi said...


Fairion said...

do you really leave the apricots in quarters and not puree the mixture or anything? How manageable is the finished products with the chucks? Is it more marmalade like than jam like?

Colleen said...

I didn't hear the story about the jam left in the car! I would have told you it was fine :)

I have religious issues with water bath canning, but if I were going to do it, I would slightly undercook the jam so that when it was done with the waterbath it wasn't so overcooked.

I don't even cut mine in quarters, I leave them in halves and they break down beautifully. There are a few chunks here and there, but I jsut see them as apricoty loveliness.

Magpie Ima said...

Colleen--I was way to embarrassed to tell you :-) Be honored that I was willing to die for your jam! Also-religious issues? You?

Fairion-- it's not at all like marmalade as there's no citrus. But orange-apricot marmalade sounds awfully good, doesn't it? Ripe apricots break down really quickly and there are no chunks at all. I find it entirely manageable :-)

Ali said...

Half an hour, you say? Really? We had a perfect Farmer's Market apricot last night, I'm totally getting more and making this. How do I do the non hot-water bath version? Just ladle it into jars and freeze/eat it?

Ali said...

Or perhaps cool to room temperature and freeze, as you said. Got it.

Magpie Ima said...

Ali--you can freeze in glass jars (leave room for expansion) or in plastic freezer containers. I am liking the new plastic freezer jars Ball is making. The jam goes in cool, so no worries about weird junk leaching.

Chris said...

Okay, well I suppose after I go to the farmers market Sunday I'll be making TWO apricots jams. Poison Jam and this one with Riesling: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/apricot_riesling_jam/

I'd like to hear about your sour cherry jam. I was feeling so lousy after we picked ours (from the stupid infected tooth that's feeling SO much better now) that I wound up freezing all of them with plans to jam some up later.

Magpie Ima said...

Chris--I think you will be so happy with the apricot jam. It is seriously good stuff.

The sour cherry jam was made using David Lebovitz' recipe: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2005/06/norecipe_yikes.html Also very good stuff.

Angela said...

Hi! Chris gave me the link here b/c I asked her what "Poison Jam" was. Looks very similar to a jam I make, only I use orange juice and zest instead of vanilla -


Apricot Jam is just about my favorite - especially on English muffins or between layers of a cake. YUM!!

Okay, off to look around the rest of your blog. Thanks!!