With the number of different apricot varieties around these days, each with slightly different fruiting times, the ‘season’ for preserving this sweet summer fruit can span as long as 3 months, so it’s good to have a few recipes stashed away.
Apricot jam is always a favourite, and the addition of vanilla makes this one extra flavoursome and aromatic. It does require a few hours rest before cooking, so it’s wise to start this recipe early in the day.
2kg apricots, washed, de-stoned and chopped into 1/8ths.
1-2 vanilla pods
2 small lemons
Makes 5-6x 270ml jars.
1. Add chopped apricots, vanilla pods and sugar to a large, wide heavy-based pan. Split & scrape the seeds from the pods before adding.
2. Cut lemons in half and remove pips. Squeeze juice into pan, and chuck the lemon carcasses in too.
3. Mix thoroughly. Cover with a clean teatowel or lid and leave alone for a few hours until all the sugar has dissolved. Give it a gentle stir now and then to help it along.
4. Once sugar is dissolved, pop the pan over a medium-high heat and bring to the boil. Stir occasionally to ensure sugar is completely melted.
5. Keep at a ‘rolling boil’ until jam reaches a Set. Test for a set by dripping a bit onto a cold plate, waiting til it cools, and seeing if it wrinkles when you poke your finger through it.
6. Skim off any scum and remove vanilla beans and lemon peels.
7. Pour jam into hot sterilised jars and seal with boiled lids while hot.
Store in a cool dark cupboard for up to 12 months before opening, then in the fridge once you’ve cracked the jar.
* When you’ve filled all of your jars, there will be some scrappy bits of jam left in the pot: scrape it out with a spatula and keep in a little container for adding to porridge, or cakes, or yoghurt, or drinks. It makes a most excellent ‘solid cordial’, and it makes the most wonderful champagne cocktail 🙂
* The large pieces of lemon you remove can be slowly dehydrated to make a form of candied peel. Imagine THAT swirled through your Christmas cake!!
Here are some other tasty jam recipes to have a go at…