The whole Massey family is home for the holidays - Jack just returned from travels in South America and Ben has a two week break from his second year of medical school. The four of us are spending our days skiing, visiting friends and family - just enjoying each other’s company. Life is good!
Limited shopping? Give food!
In rural Colorado, I’ve learned that food is a gift that I can always buy locally and is enthusiastically received. So, my holiday tradition is to make unique foods to give as gifts. In the past, I have given jars of Lentil Soup ingredients and Maple Pecan Granola. I’ve even made bowls of Sweet Heat Pecans and given jars of Green Tomato and Lime Salsa.
Hot and Spicy
I’m giving something new this year - Habanero Apricot Jam. These small jars of spicy, sweet liquid gold have been a hit every time I bring them to a gathering. Just spoon the jam over cream cheese and serve with crackers for a unique appetizer. I’ve also made a dynamite glazed chicken with this jam.
This version of Habanero Apricot Jam can be made from easy-to-find ingredients for simple gift giving. Adapted from the Ball Book of Canning and Preserving, the original recipe was meant to be processed in a water-bath canner so that it could be stored at room temperature. I’ve simplified this version to make it a refrigerator jam- no canning required.
- Plan ahead to soak the dried apricots in vinegar for four hours before making this jam.
- You'll only need to dice about 4 habaneros, but I still recommend disposable plastic gloves to protect your hands from the oils of the peppers.
- This recipe makes about 6 cups of jam. It will freeze well, just in case you have extra after sharing the jam-love with your friends.
Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comment section below.
Sometimes a food combination shocks, delights and amazes your tastebuds…Habanero Apricot Jam does just that. Served over cream cheese then smeared onto crackers is my favorite way to eat this jam, but it also makes a spicy glaze for baked chicken.
- 1 ½ cups white vinegar
- ⅔ cup finely chopped dried apricots
- 6 cups sugar
- ½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper or combination red and green for the Holidays
- ½ cup finely chopped red onion
- ¼ cup finely chopped, seeded habanero peppers, about 4 peppers
- 1 pouch (3 ounce) liquid pectin, do not substitute powdered pectin
In a small glass or ceramic bowl, combine vinegar and apricots. Let the apricots soak for at least 4 hours or even overnight.
In a large 6-quart pot, stir together sugar, all peppers, onion and the apricot-vinegar mixture. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil over high heat for one minute, stirring frequently.
Squeeze liquid pectin into the sugar-pepper mixture and continue boiling for one more minute.
Remove the jam from the heat, then ladle into jars. Be careful not to burn yourself with this extremely hot syrup. I use traditional canning jars and lids marked with instructions to "refrigerate". This jam should be used within two weeks.
When cutting hot peppers, I use disposable plastic gloves to prevent the oils from burning my hands.
This recipe can be preserved by water-bath canning which would allow it to be stored at room-temperature for a full year. For instructions on how to preserve this recipe, go to FreshPreserving.com, and remember to adjust the processing time for your elevation.