Saturday morning started with coffee and a cherry danish from Filou’s.
I love sitting on my back step in the warmer months to eat breakfast.
At this point I was prevaricating about getting stuck into making some Apricot Jam; the Reindeer was worried that I was still peckish and would eat him next!
Apricot Jam (“Proper” recipe below)
First you need to have a sister who buys a house in the Brunsk which has a big old Apricot tree. Then you need your sister to take care of the tree all year round and then pick the Apricots when they ripen.
Then you pick them up, take them back to your house, cut them in half and put them in your preserving pan.
Put in about half of the Apricot pips as well.
Then juice a lemon or two and add that in along with some water. Cook until apricots are soft, add sugar and boil until setting point is reached.
Make sure you counted the pips so that you know you’ve taken them all out before you bottle the jam.
I forgot to take a picture of the jam while it was cooking so here’s the finished product. I got 7 jars from about 2.2 kilos of fruit.
1 kilo Apricots
Juice of 1 – 2 lemons
3/4 cup water
Cut Apricots in half and remove the pips.
Put the Apricots in a heavy based saucepan or preserving pan along with the water, about half the pips and the lemon juice. If you’ve got some muslin then tie the pips in that and put the muslin package into the saucepan / preserving pan.
Cook until Apricots are soft and most of the water has evaporated. You’ll still have plenty of liquid in the pan because the fruit will release its juice as it cooks.
Then add the sugar and bring to the boil. Keep stirring at this point so that all the sugar dissolves.
Boil until setting point is reached which should take about 25 – 30 minutes.
Remove the pips …. easy if you’ve tied them up in muslin, a little harder if you’ve got to fish around in hot jam to pull them all out. If you do it this way then use a slotted spoon so that you don’t take out a lot of jam with the pips.
Let the jam cool for a bit before you pour it into sterilised jars. Seal with lids or the clear jam jar covers which you can buy at the supermarket.
There are two tests you can do to determine if your jam will set.
Methylated spirit test:
The first test is done when your fruit has cooked but before you add the sugar. Put about 2 tablespoons of methylated spirits in a glass and add a couple of teaspoons of the cooked fruit pulp. Leave for about a minute. If the fruit pulp has formed a clump (or even 1 – 2 larger clumps) then it has enough pectin and your jam will set. If the fruit pulps stays in smaller clumps and doesn’t join together then you’ll need to add more lemon juice or some commercial pectin which you can buy at most supermarkets.
The second test is done after you’ve added the sugar and boiled the jam. Put a saucer in the freezer so that it gets really cold. Then once you’ve boiled the jam, put 1 – 2 tablespoons onto the saucer and return to the freezer for about a minute. Tilt the saucer towards you, if the jam wrinkles and moves as a whole towards you then it has reached setting point. Next time I’ll take a photo of this so that you can see what I mean.
For every kilo of fruit I use about 3/4 kilo of sugar but there are those who use 1kg fruit to 1kg sugar. I think less sugar makes sweet enough jam but you might need to add a little bit more if the jam isn’t hitting setting point.
Do you like making your own jam … feel free to leave your jam making tips in comments.