Apricot is one of my two most favourite jams, equalled only by strawberry. Truly nothing beats a homemade jam, and it’s incredibly easy to make so absolutely worth the effort. I grew up in a house with an apricot tree and making apricot jam was a summer ritual. At the beginning of this year, when visiting Australia for a few weeks, my sister, mum and I went to a friend’s farm and stripped their apricot trees bare and relived this lovely ritual. My family has always made apricot jam quite runny (not worrying too much about pips and pectin) and so this is how I like it – sloppy and sweet…. and coating hot buttery sourdough toast.
My general rule of thumb is: if you need to make a jam or preserve – go to Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion (the Australian cooking bible). This recipe is adapted from her book, though I advise skipping the very challenging task of cracking open the apricot kernels with a meat mallet (!?) to retrieve pectin-rich pips. My dad kindly gave this a go but of the 15 he cracked, only 1 was left whole 😐
Increase or decrease your sugar to match the amount of fruit you have, and make sure to weigh the fruit after all pips are removed. To check if the jam is ready, drop a small amount onto a chilled saucer for 30 seconds, run a finger through the mixture and if it wrinkles it has reached its setting point. As I skip the kernel / pectin stage you may not reach this stage, but as long as it isn’t tooooo runny you’ll be fine.
Sterilise your jars by running them all through the dishwasher before pouring the jam in (or alternatively by soaking them in VERY hot water).
- 1.5 kg apricots (mix of firm and ripe)
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1.5 kg sugar
Preheat oven to 160°C. Wash the apricots then quarter them, removing the stones.
Put the apricots, water and lemon juice into a large saucepan (or copper preserving pan, if you have one) and bring slowly to a boil. Simmer until the fruit is tender, around 20 minutes, or longer if you prefer your jam to not have large chunks.
Meanwhile, put the sugar into a clean casserole or baking dish and warm it to hand-hot in the oven.
Add warmed sugar into the pot, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then boil rapidly for about 20 minutes or until setting stage is reached.
Ladle into hot, sterilised jars and seal.