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Canning Apricots

An easy step-by-step tutorial on canning apricots. This recipe for preserving apricots is perfect for beginners and experienced canners alike. Instructions include low-sugar and no-sugar options. 
jars of canned apricots against a tile background.

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An easy step-by-step tutorial on Canning Apricots. This recipe for preserving apricots is perfect for beginners and experienced canners alike. Instructions include low-sugar and no-sugar options. 

jars of canned apricots against a tile background.

Fresh apricots are hands down one of the easiest fruits to can. There is very limited prep and you can preserve an entire batch in under 50 minutes.

Even better, I’m going to teach you how to make canned apricots in light syrup (or no syrup at all!), so you can actually taste the fruit and not just sugar.

What is the Best Way to Preserve Apricots?

Canning is the absolute best way to preserve apricots! Just like Canning Peaches, it’s a simple straightforward way to put up this fruit for delicious fresh summer eating, all year long.

If canning is not your jam, our tutorial on How to Freeze Peaches also applies to freezing fresh apricots.

Do You Peel Apricots For Canning?

You can, but it’s not necessary. The skin of apricots is incredibly soft and thin and doesn’t get tough or bitter while canning. And frankly, one less step when it comes to canning is always a plus in my eyes!

If you do wish to peel them first, follow the peeling directions over in our post on how to preserve peaches.

apricots, lemon juice, and sugar on a grey board.

CAN YOU CAN APRICOTS WITHOUT SUGAR?

Yes. That being said, sugar is used in canning for flavor, preservation, and color. Sweet food generally tastes better, keeps longer, and the color of the food stays bright and fresh.

Apricots have enough natural sugar and don’t need any sweetener added while canning to be considered safe. But your final product may look a bit different and have a shorter shelf life. Personally, I walk the line between no sugar and low sugar for canning peaches, canning apricots, and canning pears.

CANNING Apricots WITH HONEY 

Please note, if you’re using raw honey, any of the beneficial properties will be killed during the heating process. It’s more affordable to use regular honey for canning.

Preserving Apricots WITH FRUIT JUICE

You’ll need about 48 oz of juice per 6 pounds of apricots using a hot pack process. Using frozen concentrated apple or white grape juice is a great and easy substitution for refined sugar syrup. Use one can of thawed concentrate mixed with three cans of water.

a chart showing syrup options for canning apricots.

Preserving Apricots EQUIPMENT LIST

Check out this in-depth post for a complete list of canning supplies.

  • Apricots! You’ll need about 16 lbs per 7 quarts and 10 lbs per 9 pints.
  • At least two large bowls. You can never have enough bowls when canning.
  • Large pot of water for blanching the fruit and a medium pot for syrup. I use my dutch oven.
  • Canner: simple water bath canner, a pressure canner (which can double as a water bath canner), or even a huge stockpot with a rack in the bottom.
  • Canning tongs/jar lifter
  • Jars – quarts or pints.
  • Lids and rings
  • Wide mouth funnel
  • Ice (if you are peeling the skins)
  • Sugar, honey, or juice
  • lemon juice or citric acid
  • Paring knife
  • Cutting board
  • Metal spoon
  • Butter knife or plastic chopstick
  • Comfortable shoes. Don’t do this barefoot. Your back will hate you.
  • Clean washcloths and at least one thick clean towel.

RAW PACK FOR CANNING Apricots

It is not recommended that you preserve apricots using a raw pack. The final product is usually of poor quality. Thankfully, the process of hot packing only takes an additional 2 minutes.

HOT PACK FOR CANNING Apricots

Hot packing involves cooking the apricots briefly in hot syrup before packing the fruit into jars for canning. You’ll want to boil the apricots in the canning syrup for 2 minutes and then add them to your jars, carefully ladling more hot syrup over the top.

How to Can Apricots

*I’ll walk you through the process with photos and tips below. And a printable and detailed recipe card, including exact measurements for ingredients, is available at the bottom of the post.

CANNING PREP

Prepare your water bath canner by filling it with water. You just need to have enough water to cover the jars by 1 inch once the water is boiling.

Set the canner on the stove. Turn the burner to high. Once it reaches a boil, reduce it to simmer. You want to keep the water hot so that everything is ready when the fruit is.

Wash and clean your jars. You’ll want to keep them warm to avoid having them crack when placed in the canner. You can fill them with hot water, or place them on a tray in the oven at 170F.

Wash your lids and set them aside in a clean place. You no longer need to simmer lids in water to keep them sterile. Woot!

Set up a large bowl of water treated with lemon juice or citric acid

Wash your fruit. I just run them under water and rub my hands on them to give the outside a scrub. Use a paring knife and cut the apricot around the middle to separate. Add the halves to the bowl of lemon juice water. Repeat with more apricots.

In a medium-sized pot, combine your sugar/honey/or juice, and water to create the syrup (see syrup chart above). Pro tip: if you’re planning to do a large batch all at once, I use my crockpot to create and keep the extra syrup hot. It frees up space on the stove.

Add one layer of apricots at a time to the syrup and cook for 2 minutes. One layer at a time basically means don’t overcrowd the pot. See photo below.

2 photos showing how to hot pack apricots.

Add the fruit cavity-side down (where the pit was) to your sanitized and warm canning jars. This is easiest done with a fork. Repeat with other apricot halves until you have filled the jar. Pro tip: depending on the size of the fruit, each quart will fit about 2 1/4 pounds of apricots.

Using a canning funnel, ladle hot syrup into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Headspace is the distance between the top of the food and the top of the jar. You may need to use a spoon to gently smoosh down the fruit a bit.

Using a long utensil (I prefer a plastic chopstick), remove all the air bubbles from the jar. Clean the rim of the jar very well with a hot damp rag. Place a clean lid on the jar. Add a ring, and tighten to fingertip tight.

2 photos showing how to preserve apricots.
3 photos showing how to preserve apricots.

Gently place your jars in the canner. Put the lid on, and wait for the water to come back to a rolling boil. Do not start your timer until the water is boiling.

Pro tip: If you don’t have enough jars to fill the canner, consider Canning Water in a few jars to stock your emergency drinking water supplies.

Hot packed pints should process for 20 minutes, and quarts for 25 at sea level. See the chart below for altitude adjustments.

A chart with processing times for preserving apricots

Once the jars have processed for the appropriate amount of time, remove the canner from the burner, carefully take off the lid, and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Pro tip: I tend to just slide the canner into the middle of my stove, as it weighs a ton.

Carefully remove the jars with canning tongs, and place them on a thick towel in a place where they can be undisturbed for 12 hours.

The lids will likely start to pop within 20-30 minutes of being removed from the water. That popping sound is music to your ears, as it tells you that everything has sealed. It’s a reward for all your work!

After the jars have rested for about 12 hours, press down in the middle of each lid. If it “gives” at all, the jar didn’t seal. Either enjoy it that day, put it in the fridge, or reprocess it.

HELP! WHY ARE MY JARS LEAKING JUICE?

If you find that juice has leaked out after they have sealed, you have experienced a common canning issue called siphoning. It happens to the best of us!

Siphoning is typically caused by not allowing the jars to rest in the canner after they have finished processing. In the directions above, you’ll see that I recommend you remove the canner from the burner, remove the lid, and let it sit for 5 minutes.

This is important as it allows the jars time to rest before being allowed to cool on the counter. Doing this process will significantly cut down on siphoning.

IF YOU HAVE SIPHONING IN YOUR JARS, FOLLOW THESE STEPS:

  • Check – are the lids still sealed?
  • Look – have you lost less than half of the amount of liquid in the jar?
  • Examine – does the fruit look fresh with bright colors?

If the answer to the above three steps is “yes!”, then they are safe to eat. If you lost quite a bit of syrup, the uncovered fruit will turn color more quickly. Plan to eat from those jars first.

3 glass jars of preserved apricots with a few sliced apricots in a grey bowl.

WHAT IF MY JARS DON’T SEAL?

If you’ve correctly processed your fruit, and the lids still didn’t seal, you can reprocess them.

Double-check to make sure there are no:

  • Chips in the rim of the jar
  • Dried syrup or bits of apricot on the rim (anything between the rim and the lid may prevent a seal).

Best practices would involve using brand new lids for reprocessing. Set aside the old lids to use for dry storage (related: Pantry Essentials for the Home Cook).

If the jars don’t seal on the second attempt, you likely have a bad batch of lids, or your canning process has a step missing. Email me and we’ll try to troubleshoot what is going on.

For unsealed jars, you can place them in the fridge. Eat the fruit within three weeks.

HOW LONG AFTER PRESERVING Apricots CAN YOU EAT THEM?

They are safe to eat as soon as the jars have cooled! Unlike a project such as Refrigerator Dilly Beans, home canned apricots don’t need to rest before they’re ready to enjoy. Dig in!

HOW LONG ARE CANNED Apricots GOOD FOR?

You can safely keep them for 12 months in the correct conditions (dark space, not too warm). Make sure to label all of your jars and use the oldest ones first.

CAN I MAKE CANNED Apricot SLICES?

Yes! If you’d prefer to cut your fruit into slices, that is absolutely fine. Think about how you plan to use them after canning. Do you want to eat them as is? If so, halved apricots will be the easiest and fastest way to can.

If you use them in crisps, other desserts, or yogurt (related: Easy Instant Pot Yogurt) slices can make a lot of sense!

Pro tip: with canning sliced apricots, you’ll need to put a bit more effort into removing bubbles from the jars. There will be more opportunities for “pockets” to occur in the jars, and those bubbles need to be removed for safety.

PRESSURE CANNING Apricots

Some people may prefer to pressure can apricots, but a word of warning – it does take longer compared with water bath canning.

If you plan to pressure can your fruit, they would need to be processed at 6 PSI for 10 minutes in a dial-gauge canner or 10 minutes at 5 PSI in a weight-gauge canner. You can find a complete guide for pressure canning times, elevations, and PSI information here.

sliced apricots in a grey bowl with mint and a fork.

jars of canned apricots against a tile background.
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Canning Apricots

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time50 mins
An easy step-by-step tutorial on canning apricots. This recipe for preserving apricots is perfect for beginners and experienced canners alike. Instructions include low-sugar and no-sugar options. 

Ingredients

  • 16 lbs apricots
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 5 3/4 cups water {+more for the canner}
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

Instructions

Canning Prep

  • Prepare your water bath canner by filling it with water. You just need to have enough water to cover the jars by 1 inch once the water is boiling.
  • Set the canner on the stove. Turn the burner to high. Once it reaches a boil, reduce it to a simmer. You want to keep the water hot so that everything is ready when the apricots are.
  • Wash and sanitize your jars. You’ll want to keep them warm to avoid having them crack when placed in the canner. You can fill them with hot water, or place them on a tray in the oven at 170F.
  • Wash your lids and set aside in clean place.
  • Fill a medium bowl with 4 cups of water and 1/4 cup of lemon juice or 1 tbsp of citric acid.
    4 cups water, 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • Use a paring knife and cut the apricot around the middle to separate. Remove the pit and place the apricots in the bowl of lemon water.
    16 lbs apricots
  • In a medium-sized pot, combine sugar/honey/or juice and water to create the syrup. Pro tip: if you're planning to do a large batch of apricots all at once, use a crockpot to create and keep the bulk of the syrup hot. It frees up space on the stove.
    5 3/4 cups water, 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • Add one layer of apricots at a time to the syrup and cook for 2 minutes. One layer at a time basically means don’t overcrowd the pot.
  • Add the apricots cavity-side (where the pit was) down to the sanitized and warm canning jars. This is easiest done with a fork. Repeat with other apricot halves until you have filled the jar. Pro tip: depending on the size of the fruit, each quart will fit about 2 1/4 pounds of apricots.
  • At this point, return your water in the canner back to a rolling boil.
  • Using a canning funnel, carefully and slowly ladle hot syrup into the jars over the apricots, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Headspace is the distance between the top of the food and the top of the jar.
  • Using a long utensil (I prefer a plastic chopstick), remove all the air bubbles from the jar.
  • Clean the rim of the jar very well with a hot damp rag.
  • Place a clean lid on the jar. Add a ring, and tighten to fingertip tight.
  • Gently place your jars in the canner using canning tongs.
  • Put the canner lid on, and set your timer. Hot packed pints should process for 20 minutes, and quarts for 25 at sea level. See the chart above in the post for altitude adjustments. Pro tip: the water must return to a boil in the canner before you can start the timer.
  • Once the apricots have processed for the appropriate amount of time, remove the canner from the burner, carefully take off the lid, and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Pro tip: remove the lid wearing oven mitts as the steam is HOT!
  • Carefully remove the jars using canning tongs, and place them on a thick towel in a place where they can be undisturbed for 12 hours.
  • After the jars have rested for about 12 hours, press down in the middle of each lid. If it "gives" at all, the jar didn't seal. Either enjoy it that day, put it in the fridge, or reprocess it.

Notes

  1. Canned apricots will last for 12 months in a cool dark place.
  2. On average you’ll need:
    1. 16 lbs per 7 quarts
    2. 10 lbs per 9 pints
    3. 2 1/4 lbs per quarts
    4. 50 lbs per 20-25 quarts
Nutrition Facts
Canning Apricots
Amount Per Serving (2 apricot halves)
Calories 129
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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