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Apricot jelly is a sugary spread made with apricot puree or apricot juice. It is popular served on toast, pastries, and other baked goods. Jellies can be either naturally or artificially flavored. Apricot jelly is very similar to apricot jam, but is normally smoother, sweeter, and does not typically contain any fruit pulp or fruit pieces.
Jelly is a form of fruit preserve. Unlike canned apricots and apricot jams, which are also preserves, jelly does not contain any fruit pieces. It is essentially apricot-flavored gel with added sugar.
Apricot jelly is popular throughout much of the world as a spread. It is used on sandwiches, on toast, and in a variety of pastry products. Jelly roll confections or jelly-filled donuts, for instance, may easily be flavored with apricot jelly. This jelly is prized in situations where apricot flavor is needed, but where a smooth texture is also desired. There are no lumps in most apricot jelly.
Making apricot jelly is not usually difficult, although it can be quite time consuming. The maker usually starts by peeling and pitting fresh apricots. Apricot skin is edible, but does not usually preserve well; in addition, the skin tends to take on a bitter taste when warmed. Once peeled, cooks must then boil the apricot flesh in a combination of sugar and water until the fruit begins to break down.
When fruits, including apricots, break down in boiling water, they release natural pectin. Pectin is a bonding agent that, when combined with sugar, congeals when cooled. Letting the mixture set at this phase would make apricot jam. To make jelly, all apricot solids must be sieved out. This yields a clear, almost translucent jelly that has a distinct apricot flavor, but no actual apricot pieces.
Apricot jelly is usually widely available for purchase, which can save quite a lot of time. Commercially prepared jellies usually range from mostly artificial, heavily sweetened jelly products to more designer jellies, many of which are more reminiscent of something homemade. The ingredients typical to store-bought jellies can vary greatly from one product to the next. Mass-produced apricot jellies often combine other fruits, particularly apple, with apricot. Many also supplement the fruit's natural pectin with prepared gelatin and other pectin products.
In some contexts, particularly in Britain, the term "apricot jelly" can also refer to an apricot-flavored gummy candy. Jellies of this sort usually come in various fruit flavors. They are frequently presented as small cubes, often covered in textured sugar crystals and sold in multi-flavor packets.