A bit of overenthusiastic shopping amplified by the generosity of a friend (Robin of The Canisters) conspired to give us too much fruit. Rather than let it go to waste or put it in the flavor-robbing refrigerator, we made preserves using an adapted recipe for Fruit Conserves from the original Joy of Cooking. Read on for the step-by-step directions.
Step 1. Assemble your fruit. We used apricots, but you could use any ripe or very ripe fruit.
Step 2. Peel and remove pits from the fruit.
Step 3. Evaluate how much fruit you have, and how sweet it is. This will determine how much sugar you use in the next step.
Step 4. Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add the juice of a small lemon, sugar—we used half a cup—and a tablespoon of water. Bring to a boil and cook the syrup about 5 minutes.
Step 5. Add fruit and continue to simmer until the fruit falls apart. This will take 5 to 10 minutes depending on the fruit. If there is too much liquid, remove the fruit, put it aside, and continue to cook down the syrup.
Step 6. Put the fruit and syrup in a clean jar. The jam will keep for several weeks in the fridge. (Ours is so delicious that it's unlikely to last the week.)
Step 7. Compost the peels and pits.
Step 8. Enjoy with butter on toast. The original Joy of Cooking was written in the 1930's, a time when fruit was too precious to go to waste. We're finding that depression-era thinking is thrifty, delicious, and green.