It’s stone fruit season and if your trees aren’t abundant with delicious fruits yet, somebody else’s will be and you’ll be able to source some delicious stone fruits at your local market.
I love making preserves. It must be something to do with me being a ‘rat’ (in the Chinese zodiac). Gathering and storing for a rainy day. I make berry jam, apricot jam, mango chutney and sometimes preserved lemons once a year and keep the jars for gifts and for myself. Everybody loves homemade produce, so they make great gifts for Christmas.
Below is my favourite apricot jam recipe. It’s from Stephanie Alexander. I love it because she includes the apricot kernels, which are non-toxic once cooked and help to firm up the syrup. They’re deliciously nutty in the jam. This jam is delicious on toast, but equally yummy on pancakes with cream and in tarts and sponges.
1.5 kg of apricots (try to grab firm apricots, which will ensure your jam keeps for a very long time)
1 cup of water
A squeeze of lemon juice
1.5 kg of white sugar
What to do:
Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius
Wash apricots and cut into quarters
Wrap the kernels in a tea towel and crack with a hammer, remove the kernels from the shell then set aside and toss the shell bits
Put fruit, water and lemon juice into a pan and bring to the boil.
Turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 mins
Pop the sugar in a baking tray and put into the oven till it is hot to touch (this helps it melt really quickly when you add it to the apricots
Pour the sugar into the apricots and stir through
Add the kernels then boil for about 15 minutes
To test if your jam is ready, pour a small amount onto a cold plate. If it retracts at the edges then the jam is ready
Ladle the jam into your sterilised jars (just wash with warm soapy water and pop in the oven till hot)
Screw lids on the jars and turn upside down to create a seal