Miche’s Two Ingredient French Apricot Jam – ’tis the Season

Miche’s Two Ingredient French Apricot Jam – ’tis the Season

Evreux, June 3, 2017 – Miche lived to be 101 years old.  Right up until she left us she was talking about her amazing two-ingredient apricot jam, among other things, and the tricks she used to make it. She also wanted to point out the bird on the steeple outside her window and remind a visitor to wait until four o’clock to hear its song,  and she always wanted to know just exactly how the air felt outside.   I think of her so often but particularly now, as I anticipate making enough jam to enjoy for the coming year.    I’m re-running this blog post to remind all of you who have apricots on your trees or in your markets to make this; it’s the best ever.

summer apricots in their crate
Apricots from the Rhône Alps

There is nothing more delicious then homemade apricot jam.

apricot jam in crystal dish

Apricot jam, ready to eat

Toast and jam
Breakfast – toast, lightly salted butter, apricot jam

I thought I already had the best recipe for apricot jam until I tasted Miche’s. Miche is Edith’s aunt and she lives about five minutes away from us in Louviers. In her eighties, she is the voluntary grandmother to all of Edith’s children and nieces and nephews—which numbered 28 at last count—and in summer she buys kilos of apricots to make this jam for them. She brought us a jar one cold February day and it tasted like summer in a jar, so intensely apricot-y that we all swooned. I immediately renounced my old recipe in favor of this one.

Miche is categoric—she makes the jam in small batches, uses as little sugar as possible, and cooks fruit for as short a time as she can get away with. She also refuses to put apricot pits in her jam—a typical French custom—for in her mind, anything that interferes with the pure, fresh apricot flavor is blasphemy. She’s right, her apricot jam is out of this world.

Print Recipe
Miche's Apricot Jam
This is the best jam that ever was, has been, will be.
Course Basic recipe
Cuisine French
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 12 hours
Servings
cups (2-1/2 liters)
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds (1-1/2 kg) apricots pitted and quartered
  • 3 cups (600g) granulated sugar
Course Basic recipe
Cuisine French
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 12 hours
Servings
cups (2-1/2 liters)
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds (1-1/2 kg) apricots pitted and quartered
  • 3 cups (600g) granulated sugar
Instructions
  1. Place the apricots and the sugar in a non-reactive pan or bowl, stir, cover and let macerate for at least 12 hours.
  2. Transfer the fruit and sugar to a large, heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat so the mixture is boiling merrily and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and ladle the jam into sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/4-inch headroom. Seal according to the jar manufacturer's instructions.
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This Post Has 38 Comments

  1. Susie

    I just made Apricot Jam about three weeks ago with apricots from Williams, California that I bought on the way from Arizona to Oregon. Borrowing from Patricia Wells’ class in Provence many years ago, I roasted the pits, cracked them open and removed the soft kernels in the middle, roasted them and added three kernels to each jar of jam to deepen the flavor. So, so delicious this year. Apricot varietal was Modesto.

    1. Susan

      Susie – I know Patricia’s jam must be fabulous; Miche (and I) love the pure flavor of the apricots, so sweet and just slightly tangy. That said – and here’s a littel secret – I also put the pits in half the jars, because I like the almond-like flavor they give. Sometimes I crack them with a hammer, sometimes I put them in whole. Both ways, they give flavor. Yum!

  2. Ross

    I do see or can find the recipe

    1. Susan

      I’m sorry – the recipe should be on the blog. Try again!

    2. Olga Crawford

      What ripeness apricots work best? I have a truck load on the tree!

      1. Susan

        the best is just before they are too ripe so they are slightly acidic. Lucky you!

    1. Susan

      Cathy! You’d love this one tooooo!

  3. Ann-maree

    Another hemisphere so I have to wait a season or two but this is the year I get over my “I’d never make it as good as my
    Mother” jam phobia and try this recipe !

    1. Susan

      Ann-Maree- you CAN make it as good as your mother did! I’m the same way about raspberry jam, by the way!

  4. miriam summ

    The best apricot jam ever! First time and as I am new at this, I’d like to know if it’s possible to make a large quantity, perhaps the equivalent of 12 jars. I would freeze the jam in plastic containers until Christmas time, then unfreeze and transfer into glass jars. This jam would be a wonderful Christmas gift for friends. Is this possible?

    And, can other fruits such as peaches, pineapple and mango be made according to this French recipe? I would love to try some other fruits. Thank you for help and advice.

    1. Susan

      Miriam – one of the secrets of this jam’s goodness is the small batch, because it doesn’t need to cook very long. I would say to make three small batches – it’s very little work. I’ve never frozen it. I imagine it would be fine, but because the fruit isn’t “confit” the way it is in most jams, that is very, very sweet and sugary, it may get watery after thawing. I’m really not sure. Try freezing a little and thawing it out, to see. OTherwise, just jar it all now? That might be the best solution. Good luck, and let me know what you end up doing.

  5. Dawn Murrietta

    My old old apricot tree gave up the ghost last year. I replanted one but will have to wait a few years to harvest. Luckily I live just a few hours north of Williams CA. Will have to take a trip and get some apricots! Thank you for giving us permission to have “runny jam”, so good on pancakes too:)

    1. Susan

      Dawn, I just made the second batch and it’s going fast. Yes, runny jam is “de rigeur” at least when homemade;the flavor is amazing.

  6. Kameela Hays

    Hi Susan there’s nothing more delightful than fruity apricot jam in the middle of winter. Although I have an orchard in the Mayenne I do not have apricots but I get the best Rousillon apricots in season and my recipe is pretty close to your friend Miche I leave out the kernels but do add vanilla from a pod to some jars
    It looks very pretty with the flecks of vanilla. Great to add to a Xmas hamper.Although I am an avid jam maker and love all fruits I am easily
    seduced by a fruity apricot. Happy jam making.
    Ps: Love your kitchen!!

    1. Susan

      dear Kameela, Vanilla is a great idea. I am so in love with the pure flavor of apricots, and they’re so rare that I don’t add anything. And I’m about to pull some frozen apricots out and turn them into jam, to extend my “jam season”! thank you for writing, and for loving my kitchen!

  7. Diane

    Is there a recipe? Or just cooking apricots down adding sugar to taste?

  8. Jennifer P.

    Hi Susan,
    Have just returned home with a HUGE basket of home grown apricots. It’s going to be 40 C degrees here tomorrow, so will have to be up early to make Miche’s Jam. I make her Apricot Jam every year and it disappears so quickly. Would not bother with any other recipe.
    What did you do to freeze the apricots for making jam later? Will have to freeze some and have not done it before.
    Many thanks for any advice.
    Bonne Année d’Australie (en plein été!)
    Jennifer

    1. Susan

      Jennifer – sorry for tardy reply – you don’t really need to do anything to the apricots but pit them! Good luck, hope you figured it out.

  9. Petra

    Have just tasted a home made jam in France which I think is very similar to this recipe and it is awesome. Would love to try to make this as it is so good! ……. but I live in Scotland so not many fresh apricots on the go, unfortunately. Can you make it with dried or frozen ones, and if usiing fresh, do you peel them?

    1. Susan

      Hello Petra! I have never made this with either dried, but I often use apricots I’ve frozen myself ,and they work fine. You let them thaw in the pot then proceed with the recipe. And no, you don’t have to peel them.

      1. Petra

        Great! Many thanks Susan, I will give it a shot! 🙂

        1. Susan

          Petra, let me know how it turns out!

  10. Karen Ruby

    OMG Becky this jam recipe is AMAZEBALLS. I tried 4 different recipes. Martha Stewart, Paula Deen, vintage Ball, some other one. Amber jam anyone? No thanks. This recipe produced a glorious bright orange jam. It is not the same in any way to anything I have ever eaten. Pure apricot heaven. Plus it is far less work than any recipe I have found. I will never make jam any other way. Thank for the reminder that I don’t need to hot water bath jams. Modern cooks are afraid to just do what Grandma did. Susan Loomis could rule the world. Thank you France.

    1. Susan

      Karen – this is so funny! And, fyi, I DO rule the world…

  11. Karen

    This is truly delicious! And gorgeous! Thank you, Miche and Susan, for a winning recipe!

    1. Susan

      Glad you love it.

  12. Michelle Bond

    Thanks for the great recipe! Will I have to add time for altitude while the fruit and sugar are boiling? We are about 7000 ft above sea level. Also can this same recipe be used for any type of fruit? Thanks!

    1. Susan

      Hello Michelle! I honestly don’t think you have to adapt the recipe for altitude. As for this working for other fruit, it most likely will. Really, you have to try but I don’t think you’ll lose! Good luck.

  13. Matthew Cory

    Would it be a disastrous idea to substitute honey for the white sugar? I have 2 reasons for considering this: 1) I am a beekeeper so I have a lot of honey; 2) It would be good to avoid using ultra-refined sugar. This afternoon I a batch of kernel-free conserve using your recipe.

    1. Susan

      Matthew – lucky you, a beekeeper. Ok, I can’t really tell you if it will work – sugar thickens, I don’t think honey does. In addition, honey burns easily, so you’d have to adjust temperatures and time. The third thing I notice when cooking with honey is that it can leave a “dirty” taste. So, you just have to try, and then you have to let me know.

  14. Sara

    I have just brought apricots home from France to make jam so am going to give your recipe a go. Once made in jars, how long will it keep for?

    1. Susan

      Hello, Sara – lucky you! If you seal the jars, they will keep for…a very long time (years). But they must be well-sealed so oxygen doesn’t get in there.

  15. Belle

    Hi Susan,

    I just wanted to let you know that this will be my third year using your fabulous recipe, with apricots from my tree. I have trimmed the sugar a little, but every time, the jam is perfect, and my friends are now expecting it as a Christmas present. Last year, we had so many apricots, we got a full 12 months’ jam, even after giveaways. Our last jar is open in the fridge, and I have my apron on, ready to make more.
    Thank you for sharing it,
    Belle

    1. Susan

      Dear Belle – Miche would be thrilled and so am I! Have a merry apricot Christmas and I’m so glad you love this. How much have you reduced the sugar?

  16. Sheila

    Have just found this recipe and will be making it tomorrow. Can you tell me how long it lasts after making.
    Sheila

    1. Susan

      Sheila,

      Hello! It lasts a long time if you seal it in jars, freeze it, or refrigerate it!

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