Making jam has definitely become one of life’s pleasures since I started this blog. I don’t do it all the time, but when I do I REALLY enjoy it. It’s not as technical as you’d think and allows you to feel like a proper old-school domestic goddess.
I came across some breathtakingly plump and aromatic apricots at a food market last weekend in Brussels and I felt inspired to bring them home and preserve them forever – well not forever but for the few weeks that the jam would last in this house!
I get to escape to Belgium about twice a year to visit my treasured friend Jenny who moved out there with her family four years ago.
I’m always hugely impressed with the quality of life over there – the food just seems to taste better and the restaurants are incredible. I wish Jen still lived up the road, but visiting her in Brussels is always such a pleasure.
I have to keep one of these jars for Jenny as it’s her absolute favourite jam, let’s hope she thinks it’s up to scratch coz she’s a pretty exacting foodie – although she’s far too self-deprecating to admit it!
The general verdict here was thumbs firmly up – in fact I think I may have to hide the jars because it’s a really delicious jam. I was worried it’d be too runny, but the chunks of golden fruit work like a charm to bring it together.
It’d be interesting to try making it with fruit from the supermarket, as you can really taste the zingy perfume in this jam which you just don’t get from the tiny specimens here. I’d go as far as saying this jam was nicer than a certain French brand we all know and love. It was definitely down to the fruit though, so definitely try and get the best quality you possibly can.
Apricot Jam (makes 8 small jars)
1 kg Granulated Sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
1. Wash the fruit, halve and de-stone, then chop in half again. Place in your jam pan and then mix in the lemon juice and sugar. Depending on how ripe your apricots are leave for 1-2 hours to macerate.
2. Meanwhile wash your jars in warm soapy water, rinse and place in a warm oven (I set mine to 100’C) until you’re ready to fill them.
3. Place the jam pan on a gentle heat and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved and the fruit has started to break down.
4. Bring the fruit up to a rolling boil for 5-10 minutes until setting point has been reached. My guide to different ways of testing for a setting point can be found in my jam making masterclass post.
5. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Pour into a jug and then decant into your warmed jars then seal. Once they’ve cooled wipe your jars and label. This jam will keep for about a year, that’s if you can keep your mitts off it!
My mum (jam guru of WI origins) would probably advise not to bother with the macerating stage, and just go straight in for stage 3 using warmed sugar, but I’d seen this method in a different cookery book and thought I’d just try and see what happened. I’ll be interested to see how she responds to this post!