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Published August 11, 2010, 12:00 AM

CANNING RECIPES: Bread and Butter Pickles . . . Apricot Jam

By: Herald Wire Reports,

Bread and Butter Pickles

4 quarts cucumbers, thinly sliced

6 sweet onions, thinly sliced

2 sweet bell peppers, sliced

1/3 cup pickling salt (or kosher salt)

3 cloves garlic, halved

Ice cubes, cracked

5 cups sugar

3 cups apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons mustard seeds

1½ teaspoons ground turmeric

1½ teaspoons celery seeds

Combine the cucumbers, onions and peppers in a large bowl or stock pot. Stir in the salt and the garlic cloves. Top with a layer of ice cubes, and let sit for 3 to 4 hours.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar, vinegar, and spices in the large stock pot. Heat to boiling. Add the drained cucumber mixture and return to a boil.

Transfer the pickles to sterilized pint canning jars. Wipe the jar rims and add the lids. Process the jars in the boiling water canner (placing the jars on a rack, filling with liquid to cover the jars and returning to a boil) for 10 minutes. Be sure to start timing after the water returns to a boil.

Remove the jars and allow them to cool. If the lids remain down when they are pressed on, the jars are sealed properly. Refrigerate any jars that do not seal properly.

Yield: About 9 pints.

Apricot Jam

16 cups apricots, pitted (firm and slightly underripe if possible)

12 cups sugar

8 teaspoons lemon juice

Cut the apricots in half and put them in a large nonaluminum cooking pot with sugar and lemon juice. Mix. Let the mixture stand at least 2 hours, and watch as the water is sucked out of the apricots, dissolving them and the sugar into a gooey mixture.

Put the pot on the stove and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. At first, you’ll just need to stir occasionally to keep it from scorching then as it comes to a boil, you’ll need to stir continuously. Once it’s at a steady boil, set a timer for 25 minutes and keep stirring.

When it first starts boiling, it’s going to produce a lot of pale orange foam, which you’re going to have to skim off with a ladle to keep the pot from overflowing. (If you put the foam in a quart jar and let it settle, it turns into apricot syrup, which is good on pancakes, ice cream or cereal. Keep it in the fridge.)

After several minutes, the foaming will stop but continue to stir.

When the timer goes off, take a look at the mixture. If it still seems too liquidy, let it boil another 5 minutes (but no more). (The goal is to have reduced the volume by about half, and for what’s left to be fairly thick; sort of like boiling jam. When it’s ready, turn off the heat.)

Ladle jam into cleaned pint jars up to about ¼ inch below the rim. Put a lid on top then screw a ring over it tightly.

If any jars haven’t popped shut by themselves in 15 minutes, they’re not properly sealed, so put them in the fridge and eat the jam soon.

Yield: About 8 pints.

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