Apricot and vanilla jam

Unfortunately this post is not what you would call timely. Apricots are hardly still in season now, however with a little simmering you can bring out the bright flavours of even the slightly sad-looking fruits from the supermarkets. A jar of this jam on a grey winter morning will hopefully start your day off on the right foot. Also, pretty sure it would be amazing in a cocktail.

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Makes 3-4 jars

Sterilising jars – This is vital to ensure your jam will keep. The easiest way is to wash your jars and lids on the hottest cycle in your dishwasher just before you make the jam. Keep them in there once the cycle has finished and fill the jars while they are still hot, making sure not touch the inside of the jars or lids. You can also sterilise using your oven. Heat the oven to 140°C, clean the jars and lids thoroughly and put them in the oven while still wet. The jars should be in there for at least 10 minutes. When your jam is ready and still hot carefully ladle it into the hot jars and make sure the lids are on tight. This process will be sufficient to seal the jars safely.

  • 1kg apricots, halved and stoned
  • 325g golden caster sugar
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 small vanilla pod

Place the apricots, sugar and lemon juice in a deep pan. Split the vanilla pod with a sharp knife and scrape out the seeds. Add both the seeds and the pod to the pan. Stir together and leave for an hour; the sugar will start to dissolve and draw out the juice of the apricots.

After an hour place the pan on a gentle heat and bring to a simmer. Keep the jam gently bubbling for around 40 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent it from sticking to the base of the pan. You may find a foam rises to the top, skim this off and keep stirring.

After 40 minutes the jam should have thickened. It will continue to set as it cools but this recipe produces a fairly soft set jam, rather than a thick jelly. Ladle the jam carefully into the hot jars and seal with the lids. Label and give as a gift, or keep all to yourself!

The jars will keep, unopened, for several months. Once opened eat within a few weeks.

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