Apricots, the queen of stone fruits with their intense, tangy yet contrastingly sweet luscious flavour, make a truly magnificent jam. There is excitement in our household as the apricot season approaches. Born out of the cold of winter, early spring buds, coaxed by the warmth of the changing season, produce delicate blossoms which are magically transformed into “golden eggs" filled with an intense golden orange nectar This simple recipe produces an full flavoured apricot jam that will become a household favourite.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1.5 hrs
Quantity: 7 x 325 ml jars
Warm sterilised sealable glass jars and lids.
1 kg fresh ripe firm apricots
900 g white sugar
250 ml water
Juice I lemon
- With a small paring knife, cut the apricots in half and remove the stone. Remove any stem or discoloured area where the fruit stem was attached to the apricot.
- Cut each half into half again and then diagonally so that you have small – medium chunks of fruit. Refer the notes section below on fruit size.
- In a large saucepan add the water, sugar, lemon juice and apricots.
- Stir constantly over gentle heat until all the sugar has dissolved. As the apricots soften a thick juicy mixture with pieces of fruit will result.
- Increase the heat and bring the mixture quickly to the boil and cook for approximately 10-15 minutes or until the jam is thick and reaches setting point.
- Using a metal spoon remove any scum occasionally.
- Remove the jam from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Using a funnel to pour into warm dry sterilised screw cap sealable bottles, fill to approximately 2.5cm (I inch) from the top of the bottle and seal using your preferred method.
- Label and store in a cool dark place in the kitchen or pantry.
- Allow the jam to mature for at least 2 weeks before eating.
- Choose ripe clean fruit. Do not use overripe and never use mouldy fruit as this will produce a poor quality jam.
- Apricots have a medium level in acid and pectin. The addition of some lemon juice will facilitate the setting of the jam.
- The number of times you will need to cut the apricots will depend on its size and the final texture of jam you like. If the pieces are too small, during the cooking process the fruit is will break up and create more of a puree texture. Larger pieces will produce a jam with lovely apricot pieces surrounded by a luscious syrupy mixture.
- Heat gently and slowly cook until the sugar has completely dissolved before boiling otherwise the fruit skin will toughen and the sugar may crystallise.
- Once the sugar has dissolved and the fruit is soft, boil rapidly until the jam reaches its setting point.
- Stir occasionally to prevent the jam from sticking on the bottom of the pot. But not too often as this will lower the temperature and delays reaching the setting point.
- Rapid boiling until the setting point is reached point helps to preserve the fresh fruit flavour. Long slow simmering of the jam affects the colour and reduces the flavour of the jam.