Apricot Riesling Jam

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Vibrant and tangy fresh apricot jam, seasoned with Riesling wine.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Please welcome Garrett McCord, who shares with us his latest jam recipe. ~Elise

I’m surprised that the food obsessed don’t consider Ernest Hemingway a proper food writer. Go pick up a copy of A Farewell to Arms or “Big Two-Hearted River” and pick any random page and the characters are either drinking or eating, though it’s more likely the former. He even titled his memoir, A Moveable Feast.

Recently I was working on a paper for a class in my Master’s program that was discussing the use of food and drink in Hemingway’s works as a form of escapism. Now after so much reading and writing I usually have to escape myself and do so through food, which proves once again that life imitates art (and academia, apparently). However after all this food lit. study I decided to see if I could cook up something inspired by Hemingway.

I decided to make a jam since Catherine in the novel A Farewell to Arms is pining for it as she crosses into Switzerland in a paddle boat in the middle of a storm to escape the Italian army. As for using apricots, Nick in “Big Two-Hearted River” downs a few cans of them in his pastoral journey for inner peace.

Finally, since it was Hemingway I was dealing with, booze had to be used, no question. Finding a nice Riesling that paired well with the apricots I was all set to go. The result was a jam that I’m sure Catherine, Nick, Hemingway himself, or any literature lover will find perfect for smearing over some warm bread. The perfect accompaniment to your Summer reading.

Apricot Riesling Jam

Apricot Riesling Jam Recipe

  • Yield: Makes four 8 oz. jars.

Most of the alcohol cooks out and leaves a delightful flavor that I encourage you try, but if you don't want to use wine, just substitute with water. This recipe can be easily doubled; if doubling, use an 8-quart pot.


  • 5 cups of chopped apricots, pits discarded*
  • 2 + 3/4 cups of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of Riesling (or Gewürztraminer)
  • 5 tablespoons of lemon juice


1 Place the apricots, sugar, wine, and lemon juice in a large (at least 4-qt), thick-bottomed, stainless steel pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Place a couple small plates in the freezer, these will be used to test the jam later.

2 The mixture will boil and rise in volume. Skim off the pale yellow foam that forms at the top and discard. The boil will subside to larger bubbles, but still bubble vigorously. Be sure to begin gently stirring the jam frequently to prevent it from sticking to the bottom.

3 After about 25 minutes begin testing the jam by placing a small amount on a cold plate. Allow 30 seconds to pass and then run your finger through it to see what the cooled consistency will be. Boil for a few minutes longer if desired for a thicker jam.

4 Ladle into hot, sterilized canning jars** and seal leaving 1/4 inch of head space. Before applying the lids, sterilize the lids by placing them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them. Wipe the rims of the jars clean before applying the lids.

Will keep for up to a year.

* If you want, you can use a few of the kernels from the pits to give your jam a slight almond-y flavor. Roast the pits at 350 for about 10 minutes. Take them and crack them open with a hammer (do outside on concrete), and extract the kernel. Roast the "nuts" for a couple of minutes. Pop one or two in each sterilized jar when you pour the jam in.

** To sterilize the jars, rinse out clean Mason jars, dry them, and place them, without lids, upright in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes.

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Garrett McCord

Garrett McCord is a professional writer and recipe developer whose work has appeared in many print and online publications such as Gourmet Live, Saveur, Huffington Post, Smithsonian, and NPR. Past clients also include numerous food companies, wineries, and distilleries. Garrett writes about cocktails on his website, Coupe de Grace.

More from Garrett


Showing 4 of 25 Comments / Reviews

  • Marilyn

    This is by far, the best Apricot Jam recipe on the planet!! However, doubling the recipe comes with additional time required for perfect gelling. I keep two pots going if I want to double and the results are far superior.

  • Marlene

    I made this with brandy instead of the riesling and it is also very delicious. I just whipped up a small batch to have with toast and pancakes and it is super easy. A definite keeper!

  • Jomama

    This is ah-mazing!! Such an easy recipe that everyone in the family loved (a rare thing!)….I will make Hemingway Jam every year! Thanks!

  • Clyde Kunkel

    Can peaches be substituted for the apricots?

    Never tried it, but sounds great. In the case of peaches be sure to blanch them quickly in hot water first for a few seconds, then pop them into ice water and remove the peaches’ skins which aren’t jam friendly. ~Garrett

  • retroknit

    As an interesting and slightly macabre side note, the apricot pits impart a slight almond-y flavor to the jam because they contain traces of cyanogenetic glycosides, which essentially turn into cyanide upon ingestion. (Almonds contain trace amounts of the same stuff, and bitter almonds contain lots of it – hence the flavor; Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera starts out with a cyanide/almond reference – IIRC, the first line is “It was inevitable – the smell of bitter almonds always reminded him of unrequited love.”)

    Roasting the apricot pits should get rid of most of the cyanogenetic glycoside, and it would take a fair number of whole, unroasted apricot pits to hurt a child (and many more to hurt an adult) – so putting one in the bottom of your jam jars should be just fine. But yep, it’s the teensiest bit of tasty, tasty cyanide that gives the jam that slight almond flavor.

    That’s why it’s an optional part of the recipe, and why they are roasted twice. The toxic enzyme is active only when it comes into contact with water. Roasting it destroys the enzyme. Interesting factoid: almond extract is made from apricot pits, not almonds. ~Garrett

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