Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Perfectly Imperfect Apricot Jam

Have you heard of Perfectly Imperfect Produce? It's a local company that is tackling the issue of food waste and hunger by purchasing unwanted fruits and vegetables and selling them in weekly boxes delivered to your home
The unwanted fruits and vegetables may be blemished or bruised, they could be misshapen or a non-standard size, or it may just be excess that the farmers can't sell. 

I've found that the products are excellent quality and have been exceptionally happy with my boxes. But when I got a bunch of really sad apricots in my box, I was stumped.

6 Billion Pounds of Produce Are Wasted Due to “Imperfections”


Many had splotchy skin, but what made this even tougher is that they were out of season and sour. What was I going to do with these? Someone suggested jam, and while I was skeptical, I figured why not! Well I'm really glad I gave these apricots a chance, because with a little sugar and lots of stirring, they were transformed into something delicious!
I based my jam on David Lebovitz' pectin-free recipe, and added a vanilla bean, some fresh ginger (also from Perfectly Imperfect Produce!), and a tiny pinch of cardamom -  and the result definitely exceeded my expectations!

Apricot Jam


14-16 fresh apricots (about 2 1/4 lbs) - I used 15
1/4 cup water
3 cups sugar
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, quartered
1 t. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 t. vanilla
pinch of ground cardamom

1. Cut the apricots in half and remove the pits. You do not need to peel the fruit.

2. Place the apricots in a large pot with sliced ginger, and add the water. Cover the pot and cook, stirring frequently and smashing the fruit with a spoon, until the apricots are tender and cooked through.

3. Remove ginger chunks. Add sugar and vanilla bean and cook, uncovered, until the mixture thickens and reduces, stirring frequently to make sure the mixture doesn't burn.

4. Cook until the jam looks thick. Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean and discard pod. When done, a candy thermometer should read about 220ºF. 
*note: David Lebovitz also has a method that doesn't require a thermometer. See his original recipe for details.

6. Remove pot from heat. Stir in the lemon juice and vanilla, and ladle the jam into clean glass canning jars. Cover tightly and let cool to room temperature. Once cooled down, refrigerate.

The jam will keep for up to one year if stored in the refrigerator. If you want to can it for even longer-term storage, refer to the USDA Canning Guidelines.

This recipe only makes about 5 jars of jam, so if you plan on eating it fairly soon or giving some away, that really isn't necessary.
I definitely recommend trying Perfectly Imperfect Produce! I hate wasting food and love doing my part to save the ugly or unwanted fruits and veggies! They also donate food to food pantries to ensure that the produce is being given to those on need. In 2018, they saved early half a million pounds and donated about 20,000 pounds of produce. What a great company! You know I love sharing amazing companies with you and truly think you'll love your boxes as much as I've loved mine. If you decide to try them, let them know where you heard about them! They know I'm a big fan and I'm hoping you will be too.
One Time Trial Box on the left, Mini Box on the right

The One Time Trial Box is what I have ordered because I wanted to get a feel for the quantity and variety of items in the box. I added on the Mini Box last time and found that it is too small for us, but is perfect if you live alone or don't cook much. They just started offering all organic boxes, all veggies boxes and all fruit boxes. They will also be selling smoothie boxes soon. I definitely can't wait to try that out!

Thankfully they have been really successful and are expanding! They recently started delivering in Columbus and hopefully will be growing even more.

You can follow them on Facebook, Instagram or check out their recipe blog Ugly Food Makeover.

12 comments:

  1. I still can't believe how much good produce is wasted each year. This is a great idea!

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  2. Love Perfectly Imperfect Produce and the apricot jam was such a good idea!

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    1. I do too! But I have to admit, I was originally stumped on what to do with all the super sour apricots. Better than turning lemons into lemonade - that's for sure! ha ha

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  3. I love this!! I have heard about this company because I actually work for a non profit agency but I was weary of trying it because I was afraid that the quality of the food would be poor. I may order the trail box to start off and see how I like it.

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    1. Please do!! I highly recommend them. These apricots were definitely the worst thing I ever got from them...and look how good it turned out! I added the very sad out-of-season tomatoes to chili. The rest of the items were complete perfection. Please tell them I referred you. They love it when current customers spread the word :)

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  4. I NEED to get a box of theirs! I keep hearing about them. I love that you made jam - jam has always intimidated me!

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    1. YES! The produce is great!! Most doesn't even have a bruise or blemish. Please tell them I referred you. They love it when current customers spread the word :) I'm going to try their organic box next and can't wait til the smoothie boxes come out!!

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  5. I can't wait to taste this! :) :) :)

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  6. What a fab idea! I love that you are industrious and made jam! I don't know if I would have the time or patience. Thanks for telling me about the produce box, its a great idea

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    1. I was a bit intimidated too --- but it actually was super easy! This jam doesn't get "canned" in the traditional sense (no sterilizing containers, boiling, etc) so you basically just put some fruit and sugar in a pot and cook it. If you like produce, I definitely recommend trying PIP. They food is really really good and the mission is awesome!

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