Friday, June 14, 2013

Canning Apricot Nectar - How To

**2015 UPDATE: When this post was originally created, I was using a steamer for this tutorial.  Since then the FDA has deemed steamers unfit for healthy canning practices, since the necessary internal temperature for killing bacteria and microorganisms is harder to regulate in a steam canner.  Please be advised that you should use a hot water bath canner.

Since this is by far my most popular post ever on this blog, and because apricot season will be here shortly, I have decided to repost this for all of you newbies.

My brother has two apricot tree's.  He let me come and pick as many as I wanted; I can't pass up free fruit.
Instead of just bottling apricot halves, he gave me the idea to do apricot nectar instead.
I had never done it before, but it was really easy.
And I must say that I am overly excited to have that addition to my food storage.
I was seriously lacking in the drink department.

Anyway, if you want to make some of your own, here's how to do it:

Bottled Apricot Nectar


Supplies Needed:
- Apricots
- Blender
- Mason Jars
- Knife
- New seal lids with screw bands
- Water Bath Canner
- Thick rubber bands (optional)
- Bottle Lifters
- Old Towels


Be sure that your bottles are clean and ready to go.
Then, start by filling your sink with cold water.
Dump as many apricots that will fit into the sink and let the water just cover them.

If you have a double sink, put a plastic bag inside of a strainer and place that in the second sink.  This will be for all of your pits.

To half the apricots, locate the hole that connected to the stem.

Place a thumb on each side of the hole, and gently pull apart.

Now, split each apricot open, dump the seeds in the bag, and put the apricots in a blender.
Stat with 7 apricots or so, and turn the blender on.  If it doesn't puree them right away, turn off the blender, and shove them down into the blades with a spoon.  You want it to be completely liquified.

Once you have about 1 cup of juice, you can add as many apricots that will fit in your blender.
The juice you have will allow it to mix up the rest.

You can pulse them as much or as little as you'd like.  I pureed mine.  I didn't want any chunks that wouldn't fit through a straw or open sippy cup.


When your blender is full and the apricots are juiced, you can fill up your bottle(s), depending on the size of your blender. 

**You do not need to add anything to the apricots.  Sugar will be added later when you actually make the nectar.

Be sure and leave some headspace - I fill mine up to the bottom of the bottle neck.

Remember to leave about 1 cup of juice in the blender so you can easily mix up the next batch.
Now keep going until you have enough bottles to fill up your steamer or water bath.

Before you put the lids on, you need to do 2 things:
1- Remove the air bubbles
Take a butter knife, and starting at the top, slide it down the outside of the jar.
Repeat this process 5 or 6 times, moving it around the jar.

2- After that, you need to make sure that the top of the bottle is clean.
If you have any juice around the rim or outside screw bands of the bottle, wipe it away with a clean rag.

Then, rub your fingertip around the ring on the top of the bottle.

You are feeling for any leftover debris (sometimes used bottles have rubber left from the previous lid), or if there are any chips or dings in the bottle. 
** This step really should be done while you are prepping your bottles in the beginning, but I do it again right before steaming just in case**
If there is any debris, clean it off.
If there is a chip or ding around the top, do not use the bottle.  It will allow air to pass through and it will not create a good seal.

After each bottle has been checked, you can put your lids on top and screw the bands over them.
Bands should be put on as tightly as possible using one hand.

Now make sure your water bath canner is ready.

You should be able to add 7 bottles to your canner, and then fill it with water to completely submerge all bottles.  Now put the lid on, turn your unit on high, and wait...

Or... start filling up more bottles.

You are going to
steam quarts for 25 minutes, and pints for 20.
(Remember to adjust for altitude - Uath time is 35 for quarts, 30 for pints).

However, you do not start the timer until steam is consistently coming out.
If you are unsure if it is coming out consistently, it isn't.  It should be very obvious:

Once it starts steaming, start your timer.

When finished, turn off the unit.
Now, take an old towel and lay it on your counter right next to the unit so you can put your hot bottles on top.

Carefully take the lid off (the steam will be VERY hot, so use hot pads and long sleeves so you don't burn yourself.

Use bottle lifters to move the jars from the steamer and place them on top of the towel.  Do not allow the bottles to touch so they can cool down faster.

Now dump out the water in your canner, rinse or wash it, fill it back up, and start over again if you have more bottles!

Now just let them cool down.  The bottles should seal as they do so, so don't be suprised if you hear random "pop" sounds coming from your kitchen.

Once bottles have been allowed to cool completely, you need to make sure that they have all sealed properly.  Tops of lids should be indendented, and there should be no popping sound when you push on them.
If you are unsure of any, unscrew the band and try to lift the lid off with your fingers.  Properly sealed jars should not come off easily.  If you cant lift it off, you are good to go.
**Unsealed jars should be stored in the refrigerator and used within a week.

Before you put your jars away, you need to clean them.

I start by filling up my sink with warm water.  Then I toss all of the bands into the water to let them soak.
Use a scrub brush and clean them all off - then lay them on a clean towel to dry.

I do the same thing with the bottles.  If they are sealed correctly the lids will not come off.
Make sure you clean the outside rim very well, or the bands will stick to the bottle and be VERY HARD TO OPEN.  That sticky mess is like glue after a few weeks.

Place all of your washed jars on a clean towel and let them dry.

Then write the year (or complete date) on top of each jar.

Screw the bands back on, and put them away!

But don't forget to try one first.

To make the nectar:
Mix one quart of nectar with one quart of water (or 5 cups of ice in a blender).
Add sugar to taste (about 1/3 cup for me) and mix.
Now you can enjoy nectar all year!
Yum...

Enjoy!

6 comments:

Brittany Peterson said...

Michelle, you are seriously good at online tutorials. From Wade.

Lulu said...

Michelle, you are amazing! I have a big old apricot tree that was just covered this year. I have been agonizing about what I was going to do with them all. Then I googled "canning apricot nectar" and your tutorial came up. I love how you explained it so easily and I loved the pictures so much. I just dived in and had a blast. I really feel good about this project. Thank you so much for you knowledge and being willing to share it. Luann

Rachel said...

this is a great recipe, but you should not tighten lids after they come out of the canner.

Sheryl Parsons said...

Thank you for this! I was wondering if I could use my blender and you have answered that question. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Sounds and looks so simple Michelle! The steamer gives me a question though. Let me know if I'm correct. I have a large Mirro steamer/canner. After filling the jars, and attaching and tightening the lids correctly, I place them in the steamer. I leave the 5/10/15 lb. weight off and just let the steam vent out the port where the weight normally would set and let it go for 30 minutes for pints?? Mirro says for canning apricots to use 5 lb. weight for 10 minutes, but I assume this would overcook the nectar..??? I started with steam venting and timed for about 15 minutes, then after reading the Mirro directions, I added the 5 lb. weight for 10 minutes, then removed the weight and let the steamer vent down, removed and am now waiting for the vacuum seal. Hope it will work OK!!!!!

Michelle said...

Anonymous -
I am unfamiliar with the Mirro steamer/canner. From what I understand it is a pressure canner and you can use it as a steam canner as well.

Anything that can be steam canned can also be pressure canned, so it is much easier to just use the dial gauge and use it as a pressure canner. 5 lb. weight for 10 minutes is correct for apricot nectar, and shouldn't overcook the nectar.

When using pressure canners, the processing time never changes (it will always be 10 minutes). However, the lbs. will vary based upon your elevation. In utah (4,000-6,000 feet) the pressure needs to be increased to 8 lbs. Where are you from? Do you know your elevation?

The two posts can help you figure out what lbs. of pressure should be used based upon where you are located:

Basic Canning Recipes with Appropriate Times and lbs. Required for Home Canning:
http://myfamilyprepared.blogspot.com/2012/07/processing-times-and-lbs-for-basic.html

Altitute Adjustments for Canning:
http://myfamilyprepared.blogspot.com/2012/06/alititude-adjustments-for-canning.html

I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!