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Intensely Apricotty Jam - Back to Basics 37

So I promised you an apricot jam with those apricots we picked this morning, and this is not just any apricot jam, but my own award winning Convalita Farmhouse Foods Intensely Apricotty Jam. Here it is, isn’t it pretty? My artist daughter designed the new logo for me to celebrate when this jam won a silver medal at the Sydney Fine Food Fair.


As always, if you have not read the post Preserves - Getting Ready, go do that, and then get your jars and lids and pouring jug ready. All done? Then here we go.


Some jams like to be made in small batches and this is one of them, too big a batch and you are going to have setting issues, either a runny jam with lumps in it, or a jam that sets like a paste, we do not want either of these, this is a delicate jam, so no more than two kilos of fruit at a time. I had 1200g today because that is what the trees gave me, so we will work with that.


Ingredients


Makes about 10 x 150ml jars


1200g apricots, split in half, pitted, trimmed.

300ml water

120ml lemon juice

1100g sugar


Okay, so firstly, what do I mean by trimmed? Well, we have our bowl of apricots, let’s split one in half with a knife and remove the stone and have a look at one.

Right, well first, obviously we want to trim the little end bit where the stem was, so we snick that out, but do you see the apricot to the right, see that white line that is to the far right of the half? In the cavity, but on the right hand side? That is a little hard bit of membrane that needs to be removed before we make our jam, we could cook our apricots until they are mush and that bit will still be hard and horrible. I have heard people say that that is just a part of apricot jam, well, not my jam. I am lucky, these Moorpark and Trevatt don’t have a lot of this, some varieties are really bad for it, there is a commercial variety called Autumn Sunrise that is riddled with these, you may as well grate plastic into your jam!

So we take the point of our paring knife and just flick it out.


Good, see it there underneath? Nasty little thing.

So split and trim all of your apricots and then tumble them onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and then pop them into the oven at 160 degrees C for about twenty minutes until they are partially roasted and the smell of them is driving you mad.


Lovely. Now tip those plus any juices that have run out of them into a large pot, again, just like with the fig jam, I am talking about a BIG pot, apricot jam is another nasty spitter, so full protective gear and a big pot please.

So, into the pot with the water and lemon juice and now simmer until they are tender and falling apart. You may need to add a little more water if they get a bit dry, see how you go. When it is ready for the sugar it will look like this.


Yep, that is good, nice and squishy, not too wet, not too dry. So we add the sugar and stir until it is all dissolved, then we turn up the heat and boil very rapidly, stirring frequently, until we reach setting point. Apricot Jam can be a little tricky to tell if it is ready or not yet, lift a spoonful and tip it back into the pot, it will be very thick and syrupy.


If in doubt, do the saucer test, remember from our earlier jam posts? Saucer in the freezer, drop a spoonful of jam onto the very cold plate, pop it back in the freezer for thirty seconds and then push your finger through it, if it wrinkles, it will set. Let’s have a look at this one.


Lovely, that will set beautifully. So, carefully now, this stuff is over 105 degrees C, pour into hot pouring jug that you have ready, waiting, and from there into hot jars, put lid on, tighten lid and then invert jar briefly to prevent steam build up. And there you have it. Summer in a jar.



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