Summer's here and it's been stone-fruit harvest season in Australia. I've been receiving shopping bags filled with apricots from well meaning friends, and due to the heat which ripens them quickly, I needed a way to preserve them. What else better than to make bottles of jam and conserve to go with the summer baking!
Here's the recipe I used:
(I've got process photos too, but still can't figure out how to put them in... hmm)
Note the difference between jam and conserve. Simply speaking, jam is a cooked down fruit puree whilst conserve has small literal chunks of fruit dispensed around the puree. I will show you the subtle difference in procedure later.
Important! Do not double this recipe as such preserves are best made in small batches between 1-2 kilos at a time.
You will need:
~ 1.5 kilos of apricots (weight is after they have been halved and pitted)
~ 1.5 kilos of sugar
~ about 125mL warm water
~ 50 grams 'Jam Setta' (powdered pectin)
In a large (non copper) pot, add the water. (Also half the sugar if making conserve, since the sugar added at this stage prevents the fruit from going too mushy).
Carefully add the apricot halves and simmer gently until slightly softened.
Add all the sugar (or the other half if making conserve) and stir in until dissolved. Bring the mixture to the boil for a good 10 minutes. You can begin breaking up the fruit now by poking it with a whisk.
If making conserve, stop after fruit is in small diced chunks. For jam, continue until it's a but of a puree (i.e. mushed).
After all that, add the Jam Setta (powdered pectin) evenly to the mix and stir in quickly. Try and avoid adding it in one big avalanche as this increases the chance of lumps.
Bring to the boil for about 2-3 minutes, skimming off the scum in the last minute or so. Meanwhile, place a few spoons in the freezer.
To test if it's set, place a drop of jam/conserve on to a very cold spoon and let rest for 30 seconds. If it's set, the surface of the preserve will crinkle slightly if you gently fun your finger across it.
When ready, ladle into warm sterilized jars and seal immediately.
Note: To sterilize jars, you could boil them, put them though the dishwasher or heat in the oven. A word of warning though...jar lids and ovens don't go well together unless you want a steaming toxic mess !! The jars must be hot when you ladle in the preserve or the difference in temperature will cause cracks in the glass.
Enjoy! These make thoughtful gifts too~