Amy asked how I make my apricot jam and you know it's funny, I thought I'd forgotten but it's kinda like riding a bike and it gets made to seem much more complicated than it is. I learned how to make jam about 12 years ago because I was at the farmers market at the end of the day and I bought a box of peaches for 3 bucks. It's really fun and kind of addictive, you get spoiled and don't want to use store bought jam anymore (much like what happens when you sew your own clothes, oh you know what I mean). Unfortunately, I can't eat it anymore but Mick and his brother really like it so I do it for them on occasion and I give it to folks I know. Here's how I do it:
I start out with two big (one ginormous) pots (not aluminum) and several 8 oz. jars. I use them over and over and over and I just buy the two-piece tops at the grocery store. I have a ladle, a pot lifter (or good sturdy tongs, whichever I can find :P) a kitchen towel, a few paper towels and a big funnel. I wash everything in a big bowl of hot, hot soapy water and I let it sit until I'm ready to use them, at which point I rinse them off and dunk them in the big pot of boiling water. And of course, the biggest pot should have enough boiling water in it to cover the tops of the jars by one inch.
I tend to make it less sugary, I hate it when things are cloyingly sweet. I cut the apricots into halves, I never know how many I have, I wouldn't even hazard a guess. The ratio I use is about half as much sugar as apricots and the juice of a half a lemon and a tiny bit of water to start it out. I let it boil while stirring so that it doesn't stick and burn and then I turn it down to a medium simmer and let it cook for about 20 minutes, but I keep stirring. Then when it's nice and thick I ladle it into hot jars up to 1/4" away from the rim and dip a clean paper towel into the boiling water and wipe off the rim then I dip my two-piece lids into the boiling water and swish them around for a few seconds and immediately place them on the jars and screw them down. Once all of the jars are closed, I stick them in the huge pot of boiling water and let them boil for ten minutes. Then I lift them out onto the kitchen towel and wait to hear the "pop" sound the jar tops make. Once they pop, I leave them to cool on the counter and then away they go. I haven't tried the last batch I made but Mick was super excited and was going to buy special bread for morning toast. I think it's so much better than store-bought and I can control the amount of sugar.
Today, I picked up some peaches to make some peach melba jam and Mickey told me that I should wait, I had to explain to him that this is a seasonal thing and he didn't have to eat it right now, he's so funny.