Apricot Jam

The Apricot JamI was luck enough to be given quite a quantity of locally grown apricots; they came from a neighbour of Mum and Dad's. The best were devoured in minutes but I decided to make jam with the others.

Now jam making and me make uncomfortable bedfellows as my previous blogs on the subject show. So it was to the Internet I turned for advice. Some chance! I found recipes with more sugar than fruit, less sugar than fruit, every permutation possible, and some that I'm sure aren't! Ah well, I tried. Back to making it up as I go along.

Firstly, put a plate in the freezer. Then chop the apricots off the stones which I you tie in some stockinet or similar. Weigh the flesh and put it to cook down in the minimum amount of water necessary to cover the bottom of the pan - about ½ a pint - add the juice of a lemon. When the flesh is soft, but still has pieces of apricot still visible add the same weight of sugar as fruit and dissolve it over a low heat - you need to stir it regularly as the apricot pulp has a tendency to stick to the pan. Add the stones to the pan and when the sugar is fully dissolved turn the heat up and bring it to a good rolling boil - again stir regularly to avoid sticking.

It's at this stage that you wish you had a 3 ft long spoon and were 7 ft tall; a shortish wooden spoon and face at eye level with the pan is not good when it decides to spit out boiling sugar! (Fortunately, it only landed on my shirt, but it could have been nasty.) After about 10 minutes slide the pan off the heat and put a little bit of the jam on to the, now very cold, plate. Leave to cool a little and push the side of it with your finger - if the top of the jam 'wrinkles' slightly it's done, if not put it back on the heat and boil it some more testing regularly; I may take 15 - 20 minutes. When it's ready leave it to cool for 20 to 30 minutes and pot in sterilised jars.

Many recipes actually break the stones, remove the kernel, boil it, and add it to the jam; if you ever try this you'll realise that life's just to short for this sort of thing!

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