Monday, June 29, 2009

Apricot jam

Makes about 1.5kg

If jam making was to be any more of a perfect act of culinary genius, soft fruits would be grown in the winter time so you could make your preserves with the season's over production while it was cold and raining outside. Sadly not, it is a Summer treat, and we've been the better for it now for many a generation. This particular jam would be just the ticket spooned onto the slightly bitter ice cream I posted yesterday, although a raspberry number with a hint of lime would work just as well. Spread over thick hot toast or stirred into yogurt, this also makes a mighty delicious breakfast.

1kg apricots
Juice of a lemon
1 vanilla pod, split
400ml water
800g preserving sugar
30g of butter

Put a saucer in the fridge to chill. Wash, dry and halve the apricots. Put them in a preserving pan along with the lemon juice, vanilla pod and water, and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until soft (you want them quite soft, because they won't soften further once you add the sugar) and the contents of the pan well reduced.

Take the pan off the heat and add the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Add the butter and boil rapidly for about 15 minutes, without stirring, until the setting point is reached - that's when a dollop of the jam placed on the chilled saucer wrinkles when you push it with your finger.

Skim off any scum with a slotted spoon, then pour into sterilised jars and seal.