Auntie Zee’s World-Famous Apricot Jam from Fresno, CA

The following recipe was posted in The Armenian Mirror Spectator,
August 14, 2019 by Christine Vartanian Datian. It is with her permission that I
am posting it here.

The caption reads: “Auntie Zee” (Zarhoui Baxter) – 100 years young and one of the BEST Armenian cooks there was. Her famous “Apricot Jam”!
(Recipe and photo are courtesy of the late Dr. Harold H.
“Buzz” Baxter from
the Gutsy Gourmet, his popular international food website.)

Dr. Baxter stated:
“Here’s my late Auntie Zee’s (Zarhoui Baxter) private
recipe for the most delicious apricot jam on earth,” said Dr. Baxter. “This
delicious jam recipe takes time to make and is a major labor of love. My Auntie
Zee in Fresno knew how to cook and always went the extra mile to make special
Armenian dishes that had her signature. Auntie Zee protected this recipe for
many years and had a twinkle in her eye when she would give it up to those few
relatives and friends who asked how to make it. I think I am the only person
she shared the recipe with in all those years. And I think that was because I
once caught her climbing up a fruit tree to pick her own apricots on a hot
summer day when she was in her late 90’s. She knew I was thinking of her that
day, and she reluctantly shared this recipe with her oldest nephew.”

Auntie Zee’s World-Famous Apricot Jam

Ingredients:
3 quarts washed and cut apricots*
8 cups sugar
1 small can crushed pineapple
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
**15 apricot pits — remove seeds and boil until skin peels
off
2 tablespoons light Karo syrup or corn syrup
Preparation:
In a large pot, bring all ingredients to a boil and cook
until apricots are soft and begin to lose their shape. Let cool completely.

Pour into shallow baking pans to about 3/4 inch deep. Cover
with cheese cloth netting and put in the hot sun for 3-4 days to further
“sun-cook.”  (Dr. Baxter explained: “Of
course you have to live in an area where the temperature will remain in the
90’s to 100’s during the day. Bring pans in at night because you do not want
insects to eat your jam.”)

When ready (after 3-4 days), put the jam back into a large
pot and bring to a boil for 10-12 minutes, stirring. Pour into sterilized jars
and seal (and follow normal canning instructions).
Dr. Baxter added: “Cut apricots in half unless they are
very large, then you should cut them in quarters. We are making jam here, not
jelly. Tree-ripened apricots are not easy to find these days. It is important
that these apricots are ripened in the sun. That is where all the flavor comes
from. If you can find a farm that grows apricots or have your own tree, you are
going to love this recipe.

**The apricot pits are the hard, woody center of the
apricot. Within that hard, woody center is the seed. You will have to use a
hammer or vise to break the hard pit and remove the seed. Boiling the seed will
remove the bitter skin that covers it. This seed gives a unique flavor to this
jam.”
Makes about 4 quarts.

For this recipe, go to:
http://www.thegutsygourmet.net/zeesjam.html

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