I thought I would share my Apricot Jam recipe with you all, and a few tricks I have picked up after many years of Jammin’ … and yes, I do sing the Jamming song … thanks Mr Marley … All right! We’re jammin’, we’re jammin’ … Hope you like jammin’ too… We’re jammin’ … Jammin’…
I am very pleased to say my Apricot tree is finally free! The bird net removed, it is now stretching its limbs and enjoying a welcome rest after a busy season. This years’ bounty was plump and plentiful, the winter rains made such a difference to the fruit. We made jam, chutney, brandy and stewed apricots, and even gave some away to friends for a beer brew … not bad for a little tree!
I imagine The Flying Truffle in Smorgasbord would definitely serve this with their scones for High Tea. Violet and Betty would love it!
Best homemade Apricot Jam ever
- 2 kg Apricots
- ¾ cup lemon juice
- 1500 grams white sugar
- ¼ cup brandy – optional
- Things to gather and do first before you cook the jam: Prep station: I use my kitchen sink and draining board. Fill sink with enough cold water to cover apricots. Contrary to old belief, the extra water doesn't seem to hurt the jam at all, and at least I know they are washed. I use big bowl for compost, a bowl for the prepared apricots, a paring knife & kitchen scales to weigh as I go. To cook: Use a BIG pot with high sides, long-handled wooden spoon, spoon rest ( I use a saucer – can get messy ) To bottle: a large tray ( I use a metal catering platter ) for the jars as you fill them, small bowl of white vinegar, paper towels ( your best friend, & you can compost them ), oven tray to hold your clean jam jars, a bowl for the lids if using ( or cello preserve covers & rubber bands), soup ladle, labels Your fruit: I am lucky enough to have a beautiful Moorpark Apricot tree, so I use freshly picked fruit, some ripe, some firmer to give a good mix of flavour and body to the jam.I like to read my favourite chapter from Matt Preston in his Cravat-a-Liscious book, called Preserving Knowledge. Full of brilliant hints and gets me in a good frame of mind for jam making. I also look over my notes on my jammin' over the last 30 years, in my other recipe book I love to refer to, Jams, Pickles & Chutneys, a Family Circle publication. I still use it for all of my preserves, dog-eared and my mad notes all over the recipes.
- Prepare apricots. Check the fruit as you go, halve apricots, remove stones and bruised or blemished skin, discard stones. No need to remove skin as it breaks down in the jam. Weigh as you go.
- Place apricots in the pot, with the lemon juice. Stir often as the fruit can stick to the base. This is where the long-handled spoon is brilliant, and turn down the heat as you stir to help reduce the spitting. Not fun to get burns. It will take about 15 minutes to turn pulpy. And it smells divine. You don't want to overcook here, a lovely bright orange and some larger bits of fruit are great in the jam.
- Add the sugar, slowly. No need to warm it as they used to. I use a measuring jug and just stir it in bit by bit until it dissolves. In between stirs, I put my trays of jars in the oven on low heat to warm and sterilise. Now the jam needs to brew for a while to achieve a good set. Can take between 20 mins to 30 mins. I used to be so pedantic about this step, but now I go by the feel of the spoon moving through the jam. Again, you have to stir often ( maybe every 5 mins, sometimes more. You don't want it to catch and burn on the bottom. If that does happen, decant carefully into another pot without any burnt bits, clean the caught jam off the base, return the jam to the cleaned pot and continue to cook. ) I test for setting by putting a small blob on a saucer and then move your finger through the centre. If the jam stays apart, that's what you want. I don't like jam that's set like concrete. My preference is a little runnier but tasty and bright in colour. Once you are happy with the set, stir through the brandy if you are using. Turn off the heat.
- Bottling is my least favourite part of Jammin', but I find if I slow down and don't rush, it helps avert disasters like dropping a hot jar of jam, glass smashed to smithereens and splooshing jam all over the bench and floor. Funny? Not. I line my filling tray with paper towels first. Pop the lids, if you are using them, in boiling water to soak for about 10 mins. With a clean oven mitt, carefully place your jars from the oven onto the tray, leaving a little space around each one. I dip a clean finger in the vinegar and run it around the rim of the jar to check that there are no chips in the glass. With your ladle, load up the jars with the jam, taking care to fill the jars to just above the neckline, still leaving a little space at the top. Don't worry if you sploosh a little jam over the jars, they'll get a good wipe down later. Wipe each lid with a paper towel with vinegar, shake off any excess liquid. Once again, with a finger dipped in vinegar, check the rim of the jars. Paranoid, yes but nobody wants glass chips in their jam. Wipe off the excess jam from rim with another vinegared paper towel until clear of excess or the jar won't seal properly, then seal the jar. If you are using the cello, dip one side in the vinegar, stretch it across the top of the jar and seal off with 2 rubber bands. Again, wipe the jars with a vinegared paper towel, and transfer carefully to a wooden board to rest. If the jar is still sticky, a little dish liquid will help clean it off. Usually, I end up with about 6 smaller jars and 6 medium jars out of each batch, varies from batch to batch. Another thing I like to do is keep a small quantity of each batch I make in a little takeaway tub, labelled, to see which batch is best. You can, of course, double the fruit and sugar etc to make a bigger batch, but I find it harder to get a good consistency and colour in bigger lots, and often end up either burning the bottom or overcooking the jam.
- The last thing to do is to label your jam, and don't forget to put the date on it! As mentioned earlier, I also like to note what I have made for each batch in my mad chicken scratching notes in my trusty recipe book. Store the jam in the pantry, and once opened, pop in the fridge. Lasts for ages. And that's my Apricot Jammin' recipe! I strongly suggest cleaning up straight away otherwise it's a nightmare! Enjoy your little jewels Maddy x