Jam making. My new love. Once May comes along a wider range of fruit starts becoming available, ripe and ready to jam. Despite the relative youth of the year, I’ve already made Strawberry Jam using British strawberries and Rhubarb and Ginger Jam using some quality Yorkshire forced. Once you get the knack and a feel for how much sugar you need preserving is so, so simple – you’ll never buy a pot again. My recipe for Apricot Jam is another such triumph.
Of course, every fruit is different, but using half the amount of sugar compared to the weight of fruit is a good general rule. Some swear by using the same weight of sugar, but I find this results in an overly set, overly sweet, overly synthetic jam which doesn’t do justice to the flavour of whatever the fruit of choice. Not all jam has to be incredibly sweet; there’s nothing wrong with just a smidge of bitterness.
Just coming into season now’s the time to jump on the apricot bandwagon. You can make jam with dried apricots, but fresh is always better. And at £4-5/kg for fantastic quality fruit it’s easy to justify their purchase, particularly when making them into jam.
You’ll need a way to enjoy this apricot jam… What better than my recipe for traditional British scones? Don’t go easy on the clotted cream.
Alternatively, you could use it when making my fabulous apricot chocolate fudge cake if it’s something a little more decadent you’re after.
Makes 2 jars
- 600g fresh apricots
- 6 apricot stones
- 300g jam sugar
- juice of 1 lemon
- Halve and stone your apricots and place them in a large mixing bowl along with the sugar and lemon juice. Mix, cover and set aside for 2 hours.
- Meanwhile, crack open 6 apricot stones and remove the softer kernels in the centre. Quickly blanch in a cup of boiled water, remove their brown outer skins and transfer to the jam bowl.
- After 2 hours have elapsed pour the contents of your mixing bowl into a large saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer and leave for 10 minutes, until all the sugar has dissolved.
- Place 2 small plates in the freezer and sterilise two jam jars with boiling water.
- Turn the heat on your stove up and bring the jam to a brisk boil, removing any excess scum. Keep an eye on it at this point to avoid burning.
- After 10 minutes of boiling take a small amount of the jam and place it on one of the chilled plates. Once a minute has passed push the cool jam with your finger. If the surface of the jam wrinkles it’s ready. If not, give it a few minutes longer and try again.
- When ready, transfer the jam into the two sterilised jars, seal and leave to cool. Once open, store the jam in the fridge, where it’ll last for many months.
Cost: As mentioned above apricots are relatively well-priced at this time of the year. Indeed, these two jars of apricot jam should set you back no more than £3.30. In store a similar amount of quality apricot conserve would set you back anywhere up to £5!
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