By Nicki Sunderland
This recipe is for a delightful Old Fashioned Apricot Jam and although it is fiddly and time consuming, it is oh so worth it!
Apricot Jam is so versatile: you can use it when baking cakes, on toast, with cheese, for anything! And the satisfaction of making your own is just something so worthwhile.
1.4kg fresh apricots, halved with stones removed
1.4kg white sugar
Juice of 1 lemon (for the pectin)
6 clean jam jars with lids
2. When the fruit has begun to soften, stir in the sugar and the lemon juice and stir until sugar is dissolved. Then boil the jam for around 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure it does not stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. If a large amount of scum builds up when the jam is boiling, skim it off with a metal spoon.
3. While the jam is boiling, place 3 small plates into the freezer. When it has boiled for around 15 minutes you should start testing for a 'set'. To do this, drop a teaspoonful of the jam onto one of the chilled plates. Leave for 1 minute to cool then push with your fingertip. The jam should wrinkle on the plate. If it only wrinkles a little, continue to boil for another 2 minutes and test again. You may need to test a number of times, so return the plates to the freezer to keep them cold.
4. Now for the tricky part - the sterilizing of the jars in the oven! It is so essential to do this though as this is what makes the jam keep for so long, so while your jam is cooking, wash and dry the jars and place them in a hot oven, 120 degrees C, and keep them in there for 20 mins. In the meantime put the lids in a small pot of hot water and boil those for 10 mins.
5. Once your jam is set, use tongs to remove the hot jars from the oven and sit it in an oven tray. Then fill the jars with hot jam. I find a funnel works best for this. Once filled, screw the lids on, let them cool and stack them somewhere to marvel over until winter.
Hot buttery toast and Homemade Apricot Jam? Heaven!!
You could even go one better and pop an old fashioned doily over the lid held in place with a rubber band - just like Gran used to make!