Apricot Jam recipe – more from this morning’s talkback

As it seems that some (lucky) people still have apricots to make jam (like the gentleman who rang in this morning, here is the recipe for jam and some tips and tricks to get the best results.

(I’ve also had some requests for the recipe since this morning)

APRICOT JAM

Makes 1.8kg, approximately

1.5kg apricots (weight with stones removed), chopped

juice 1 lemon

½ cup water

1.5kg sugar

Method

Place apricots, lemon juice and water in a large pot or jam pan and cook over medium heat until apricots are tender, stirring often.

Add the sugar and bring to the boil, stirring.

Cook over medium heat, stirring very frequently for 20 to 25 minutes. *(See Notes, Tips and Tricks)

To test whether the jam will set, place a little on a very cold saucer for a few minutes (place saucer in fridge during this time). If this has formed a skin and started to set, your jam is ready.

If not, boil for 5 minutes more.

Pour into warm, heatproof, sterilised jars, filling to the brim and seal immediately with metal lids. Invert jars briefly and then turn right way up again (the heat of the jam sterilises them). ** (see Tips and Tricks)

Store in a cool, dry, dark place. **** (see Tips and Tricks)

Refrigerate after opening.

TIPS AND TRICKS

• When accessing fruit for jam, beware of fruit that is advertised as “jam quality”. This may well mean that the fruit is over-ripe or at least very ripe, which is not ideal as pectin levels (the setting agent in fruit) will have dropped and you will have difficulty getting your jam to set. It is best to use fruit that is just ripe and as freshly picked as possible.

• Do not use fruit that has any evidence of spoiling or mould.

• To help stop the jam sticking as it cooks, once the fruit is softened, add four to six stainless steel forks to the pot and stir. This trick really works as apricot jam tends to stick to the pot and burn. It also helps the jam set quicker, due to the fact the heat is diffused more evenly. Just remove with tongs when you come across them as you bottle your jam once it’s reached setting point

.

• To sterilise jars, place in a cold oven. Turn oven to 100 degrees C, fan forced) and leave for 10 minutes, then turn oven off. The jars are now sterilised. (Handle carefully as they are very hot). This can be done earlier, and jars kept aside until needed.

• ** As for the lids – just be sure they are very clean and absolutely dry.

• Be sure that the jars you use to make jam are heatproof. This is VERY important. Be sure to read labels when purchasing new jars. Non-corrosive lids should also be used.

• *** Apricot jam will tend to discolour on the shelf after a couple of months. To prevent this happening a simple trick is to store the jars of jam in the freezer. The jam never actually freezes due to the sugar content, but keeps its brilliant colour and ultimate flavour. It is very cold of course when you take it out, but only takes a few minutes to come back to room temperature and will take like it was only made yesterday.

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