Russian Apricot Preserves

July 11, 2013

in Appetizers & Misc., Preserving, Recipes, Russian & Azerbaijani

One of the things the Soviet immigrants to the West remember most vividly from their old life are the fragrant whole-fruit preserves, deliciously candied in a pool of flavorful syrup. They talk about them. They dream about them. They pass the pictures of preserves around on Facebook.

Some of us can make these at home, others can’t, but everybody wants to. Ironically for me, I haven’t made a single batch back in Azerbaijan, and neither did my mom and grandma. They just never learned how.

When I came to Wisconsin ten years ago and settled on our fruit-rich farm, I began to cook these for the first time, figuring things out as I went. I’ve since made them with our farm-grown raspberries, pricey imported figs, and cherries from our tree. In fact, I got so into jams and jellies over the years that I began to think of fruit as an artistic medium, where I was Van Gogh and Monet and O’Keeffe combined.

As it happens, I’ve made this insanely-delicious batch yesterday using apricots halves. Although there isn’t a great deal of local apricots in the Western Wisconsin, I found that organic store-bought apricots from California work just as well in this delightful traditional recipe. All the better if you can find apricots locally-grown and in season.

Here it is – print it today, cook it when you get the chance:



1 Marsha Smith July 12, 2013 at 9:00 am

Hi Sofya: A lot of old-fashioned cooks here in the states make their own fruit preserves. Have you run across any? If you have, what is the difference?


2 Sofya July 12, 2013 at 10:56 am

I have of course met many people who make their own jams and jellies and preserves, young and old alike, especially out the country where I live, especially given our high population of diy-ing back-to-the-lander hipsters such as myself. However, not one of them that I am aware of makes whole-fruit preserves (except raspberry) and eats them by spoonful with black tea. This is a thoroughly Russian and Soviet habit, in my experience.

3 Annie August 5, 2013 at 11:33 am

As I recall, my Greek-born first husband had a yen for these whole fruit preserves, too. I think they would have eaten them with Greek coffee, though. Back in those days, I wasn’t into making preserves, so it was an unrealized desire on his part. Like many, I suppose. ;-)

4 Lisa July 14, 2013 at 1:06 pm

I love this recipe and can’t wait to make it. My question is, do you peel the apricots? Thank you for the post, they look wonderful. Reminds me of my grandmothers pear preserves, simple and amazing to eat.

5 Sofya July 14, 2013 at 1:19 pm

No, I don’t peel them. No reason at all to do that.

6 Lisa R. July 14, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Sofya: What a lovely recipe. I am wondering if it’s okay to process them in a water bath? I am starting to run out of room in my fridge.

7 Sofya July 14, 2013 at 2:56 pm

You can! But not sure for how long. I am going to draw on my general canning expertise and guess that it’s 20 minutes. I know they freeze well, if you have space. You could google how long to process apricot jam, and this should be the same.

8 Lisa R. July 14, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Fantastic. Thanks for the speedy quick response. Happy canning season!

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