- 1.4kg fresh apricots, halved with stonepitXs removed (save 6 of the stonepitXs)
- 1.4kg white sugar
- 300ml water
- juice of 1 lemon for pectin
- 6 jamjellyX jars with lids
1 Place the apricots and water into a large, heavy pan and simmer gently until the apricots begin to soften.
2 Crack open 6 apricot stones (I bang them with a hammer) and remove the kernels from the middle. They are a little like a bitter almond and add flavour to the jam. When the fruit has begun to soften, stir in the sugar, apricot kernels and the lemon juice. Stir continuously until sugar is dissolved.
3 Boil the jam for around 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure it does not stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. If a large amount of scum builds up when the jam is boiling, skim it off with a metal spoon.
While the jam is boiling, place 3 small plates into the freezer. When it has boiled for around 15 minutes you should start testing for a ‘set’. To do this, drop a teaspoonful of the jam onto one of the chilled plates. Leave for 1 minute to cool then push with your fingertip. The jam should wrinkle on the plate. If it only wrinkles a little, continue to boil for another 2 minutes and test again. You may need to test a number of times, so return the plates to the freezer to keep them cold.
4 While the jam is cooking, prepare the jars by sterilizing in the oven. Preheat the oven to 120°C; place the jars in the oven for a minimum of 20 minutes. Place the lids in a small saucepan of boiling water and boil for 10 minutes.
5 When you have a set – the jam wrinkles when pushed – use tongs to remove a hot jar from the oven, place it into a heatproof dish (to catch spills) and fill to the top with hot jam. Then use the tongs to pick up a hot lid from the saucepan and screw it on.
6 When the jam is cooled it will be well set, the hot jars and lids will have formed a vacuum so the lids will invert slightly and give a satisfying pop when you come to open them. Just like the bought ones, only better!
- It is vital to sterilise your jars when preserving, to kill any harmful organisms and ensure your fruit is safe to eat.
- A preserving pan is designed with sloping sides to aid evaporation when bottling and preserving, but is not essential. A large, heavy-based stock or soup pot will work well.
- Pectin is a carbohydrate found in fruit that aids in the gelling or settling process. Apricots are not high in pectin but citrus fruits are, so the lemon juice is important if you want the jam to gel.
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