I'm Elyse. Some of my most vivid and cherished memories are around a table with friends and family, and I want that for you, too.
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While I wouldn’t say apricots are a favorite fruit, fresh apricots at the peak of the season are always such a delicious surprise. However, after going a little too wild at the grocery store, I found myself in dire need of using up a half dozen of them quickly. Enter jam. (Is it weird that the sentence ‘Enter jam.’ has been making me giggle for the last 5 minutes? Exit jam.) More specifically, enter this apricot jam with turmeric and habanero.
When I reach for a specialty jam, I don’t want something one-note. Yes, it should be sweet and taste like the fruit that’s on the jar, but homemade jam can do so much more! Here we’re adding fresh habanero and ground turmeric. Not only does it create the most beautifully-orange jar of jam, but it also adds earthiness and the perfect amount of spice.
Fun Fact of the Day!: The apricots at my grocery store were all freestone. This means that the apricot kernels (or seeds) are not strongly attached to the flesh—making slicing in half a breeze. Clingstone, on the other hand, describes stone fruit where the kernel clings to the flesh. While some folks think that clingstone varietals can be sweeter or juicier, I have never been able to tell a difference in taste. Sometimes, you can shake your apricot and if you can hear the seed, it’s likely freestone. Or, if you are able to find apricots at your farmers’ market, just ask them! They’ll be able to let you know.
Why Use Habaneros?
I have made my love of jalapeno peppers known, using them in bread and cocktails alike. When fresh, they have a green, vegetable taste that I adore! However here, it would clash hard with the apricots. So, to get the heat I want, we’re leaning on a spicier cousin, the habanero pepper. Fresh habanero peppers definitely bring the heat, but they also have this delicate floral note that really compliments the fruit. To ensure we don’t end up with pepper jelly and that apricots are still the star of the show, we deseed the habaneros and chop them finely, so all that’s left is a fun and punchy aftertaste.
When working with fresh habaneros, there is one major thing to note. Namely, be extremely conscious about washing your hands after handling them, or wear gloves. Definitely do not go chopping habaneros and then touching your eyes (or anything else) without thoroughly washing up.
Why Use Turmeric?
In addition to the habaneros, we’re adding one more special ingredient, turmeric. This root is a cousin to ginger and lends a vibrant orange hue to an already orange party. Plus, the earthiness and slight bitterness offset the sugar content, making for a jam that is anything but one-dimensional. If you have never worked with turmeric before, just know that it can stain your bowls or utensils. But, I’ve heard that if it doesn’t come out in the dishwasher, a solution of 2:1 water to white vinegar does the trick.
What Is Pectin?
That gloopy gel texture that you think of when spreading traditional jam comes from good ‘ol pectin. Pectin is a type of polysaccharide found naturally in most fresh fruit and vegetables. The pectin molecules trap extra liquid, creating the thick, luscious texture of jam we all know and love. You can find a couple of different types of pectin fairly easily at the grocery store. Most of the time, you are either going to need liquid pectin, which comes ready to use, or powdered pectin, which needs to be added to water and brought to a full rolling boil before adding.
I’m not against using pectin at all, especially when making jams from fruits that are naturally low in pectin—like our dear apricots. However, if you don’t have any on hand, or don’t mind a thick jam without that gel consistency, you are A-Ok to go rogue, especially because we are adding fresh lemon juice and zest. This boosts the natural pectin content and adds a touch of tart to the mix, creating the perfect balance of sweet, spice, tart, and earthy…the new Earth, Wind, and Fire.
What Can You Use this Apricot Jam with Turmeric & Habanero For?
This little jar of apricot jam will last tightly sealed in the refrigerator for a couple weeks. However, there are a ton of ways to use it up. In addition to splitting the portion and sharing with a friend, (I like using these squat, wide-mouth Ball jars for that. They’re the same size/shape as the one in the photo.) some of my favorite uses are:
Smear on ricotta toast or on top of cream cheese.
Use on a cheese board. It is great with any soft cheese, like brie.
Shake up a cocktail! Add a .5 – .75oz of jam to a sour recipe for a fun and beautifully vibrant twist on a classic. (ex. 2oz tequila, .5oz lime juice, .5oz simple syrup, and jam. Shake with ice. Pour into a glass with fresh ice and top with tonic.)
Place it on the side of pork chops or pork loin.
Use in a marinade with soy sauce, oil, garlic, ginger, and rice vinegar.
Use on a turkey sandwich (extra points if there’s greens and Munster cheese on that bad boi).
Top some vanilla ice cream with a little drizzle of olive oil…trust me.
No matter how you use this spicy jam, I hope you enjoy it!
Sweet, with just a touch of heat, this easy homemade apricot habanero jam is my new summer fling!
1 pound of fresh apricots (after making three batches, this varied from 6 – 8 apricots depending on their size), kernels removed and fruit roughly diced.
3/4 C granulated sugar
2t ground turmeric
2 habaneros, deseeded, deveined, and thinly diced
1T fresh lemon juice
1 – 2t lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
In a small bowl, whisk together the turmeric and sugar.
To a saucepan, combine the chopped apricots, diced habaneros, and sugar/turmeric. Allow the mixture to sit for about 10 minutes so the apricots release their juices.
Over medium heat, bring your mixture up to a gentle simmer. Stir occasionally and break up some of the apricots with either the back of your spoon or, if you like a smoother texture, a meat tenderizer or potato masher.
Increase the heat to medium-high, stirring more frequently while the liquid begins to thicken. Continue to cook until the fruit has broken up and the liquid reduces, creating tar-like bubbles. It takes me about 15 minutes to get to this point. Don’t take your eyes off it at this point. Make sure to stir along the sides and bottom of your pan to prevent scorching.
Add your lemon juice and lemon zest to the saucepan. Cook for another 5 minutes until the juice has evaporated and your jam is back to that thick consistency. You’ll know you are done cooking your jam when you slide your spoon down the center of the pan and you can see the bottom, with the jam being slow to fill the gap you made.
Remove from the heat and spoon it into a jar. Store in the refrigerator. This keeps great for about 2-3 weeks.