I haven’t made apricot jam in a few years because I have about a hundred jars of different varieties of jam inhabiting my cellar shelves, but I just couldn’t resist the crates of 1€/kg apricots I’ve been seeing lately.
The first time I ever made it was about 17 years ago when a neighbor dropped off 10 kg of his garden apricots as a gift. I looked at the heap of fruit and wondered how we could possibily eat it all. But he then explained to me that I must make JAM! Jam? But I’d never made jam before! He briefly explained the process but I picked up the phone and asked my grandmother-in-law what I should do… and I have been doing it the same way ever since. I fell in love with apricot jam that summer. It is sweet with a very pure, tangy apricot zing to it. It is heaven on a piece of buttered bread.
French Apricot Jam
The quantity of sugar depends on how you like it, but the less you use, the more fragile your jam once opened. I use about 80-85% sugar per 100% pitted fruit. So, for 2 kg of pitted fruit, that makes about 1kg600 of sugar. I used organic cane sugar so the finished jam is a bit darker than with white sugar.
Wash the fruit, then cut each in half, taking the pit out. Many people here keep a bunch of the pits and crack them open, adding them to the jam to give a slight almond flavor. I do it sometimes but when I’m cooking several kg of fruit, I have to crack a lot of pits and they are hard to crack open!
Put them in a very wide mouthed pot as you want the mixture to reduce quickly as it is boiling. If the pot is taller than larger, it will take much more time.
Add the sugar and the juice from one lemon juice.
Place over medium heat and bring to a boil stirring regularly. Take off heat, cover and let sit over night.
The next day, bring back to a boil and stir very regularly. You don’t want it to stick.
A scum will form on top but I just keep stirring, I don’t try and take it off. It also helps me to know when my jam is cooked because once it disappears naturally, I prolong the boiling about 20 minutes and then take off the heat. You can do a cold dish test, if you really need to. The jam will thicken. Some people say to boil it for an hour but if it boils to long, it caramelizes and I really don’t like that! Others use sugar with pectin but quite frankly, it isn’t necessary with apricot jam. It gets thick quickly and easily and is better when it isn’t too thick anyways.
While the jam is boiling, I wash my jars (and lids) with hot, soapy water, rinse them well and then place them up side down (with lids) on a baking tray. I place them in a 100°C heated oven for about 5-10 minutes.
Pour the jam in to each jar, screw the lids on tightly, then turn each pot upside down, leaving them until fully cooled. When they are cooled, turn them right side up and make sure the lid is concave which assures that they are properly sealed. I use this technique with jams and have never had any go bad.
I love my jam with whole almond purée!