I found some apricots at our Food Lover’s market yesterday and bought two boxes. One of the boxes are reserved for my children’s fibre and vitamin intake, the other I decided to transform into Apricot Jam to capture a bit of Summer for when the season turns again. I added some vanilla just for fun and a little bit of (like one of our local heroines from our local TV soap-drama would say) Je ne sais quoi. I don’t speak French but I have gathered that it must be something good…
I was intimidated for a long time by the thought of bottling and preserving and have had my fair share of overcooked, very sticky preserves until a friend of mine showed me what the exact consistency of preserves should be before bottling (Thank you Mariana!). I have to say I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it is not necessary to cook the fruit for hours without end. Stick to the recommended half an hour and you will end up with a beautiful clear jam with just the right consistency and a pretty sunshiny orange colour. Do a quick test by cooling a small plate in your fridge, drop a teaspoon of the jam on the plate and let it cool for 2-3 minutes. When you push your finger in the preserve it must make little ripples, then it is ready to bottle. (But mostly stick to the time limit of 30 minutes). Oh yes, and do remember to sterilize your jars, you don’t want a jam explosion in your pantry cupboard or even worse end up with food-poisoning in hospital.
So if you currently have an oversupply of apricots gather your empty bottles and cook some preserve. I filled about ten small jam jars and will be giving some of them out to fiends and family that pass through my house this festive season! So HO-HO-HO!
- 2 kg of apricots
- 2 kg of sugar
- 2 cups of water
- 1 vanilla pod (seeds scraped out)
- 2 t of vanilla extract
- Place apricots, sugar, water, vanilla-seeds, vanilla-pod and the vanilla essence all in a big pot.
- Heat all together gently on a medium heat and stir continuously to dissolve the sugar and bring to a boil. (Brace yourself, as this can be time-consuming)
- Start timing half an hour, the moment the mixture comes to a boil.
- Scoop the foam of the the surface throughout the whole cooking process. Don’t be alarmed if some of the liquid is scooped out as well.
- After the 30 minutes have lapsed, do a ripple test (See above)
- Place the jam into sterilized jars (Google if you are not sure!) seal and turn jars upside down until cool.
Oh yes, and last but not least, I want to say many thanks to Loving Home Made as well as Lovely Buns for nominating me for the Beautiful Blogger- and the Reality Award. If you have not run across their blogs yet, go and have a peek. They are cooking!