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Apricot jamming time - 11 clever tips, stoned fruit and pleasure in a jar


Apricots and lemons - Living Almost Naturally
Locally grown apricots, cracked kernels and lemons for jam

Living in a rich fruit-producing area certainly has its benefits. We make the most of the locally grown fruit, which we can buy or barter for. Neighbours and the generous folk of the Langkloof often gift their excess fruit.


Apricot season is so short you need to make enough jam to last a year. You will have to

work out your family's requirements and make bottles accordingly.


If you do not have your own fruit trees, try to source your apricots locally. Part of the green living vibe is to support local farmers.


Choosing your fruit

Choose good organic apricots, if possible, with no rot or holes. The firmer the fruit the higher in natural pectin it is. Don't choose green fruit or you will need too much sugar. You can also buy pectin at pharmacies. Use 1 tsp per kilo of fruit. I have never bought pectin before as lemons are my go-to for zesty pectin. Make sure you wash the lemons if they are not organic or homegrown.


Where to get your fruit

You can buy fruit in bulk at farm stalls if you have them in your area. Alternatively, they should be available at grocery stores and fresh produce stores.


Where to get your jars

If buying new, you will find an amazing assortment directly from glass bottle suppliers or even the local supermarket - home shops stock them too. Alternatively, keep and reuse your glass jars. Just make sure the lids seal properly. You can decide on the bottle's size and shape, bearing in mind what a great Christmas gift a fresh organic bottle of jam makes.


Why this recipe and what makes it different

This is a very fresh fruity jam. It is perfect either made smooth or chunky and has an unusual

twist. The pips are cracked open, and the apricot kernel is added to the finished jam, which gives the jam a unique nutty flavour. It's the perfect jam to use for cooking, baking, and eating with thick homemade crusty bread.

Cracking apricot kernel with water pump pliers - Living Almost Naturally
Using water pump pliers to crack apricot kernel

11 tips for making excellent jam

  • Always have fresh lemons on hand

  • Use a heavy base pot and make sure it is big enough for the quantity you make

  • Use a long-handled wooden spoon so you don't get fruit splashed and burn

  • To crack the pips, I use water pump pliers as they can be set to the size of the pip, which doesn't crush the kernel inside. Using a nutcracker often crushes the pip inside

  • Make sure your jars are well sterilized and dry in the oven

  • Covering the jam jars with wax paper dipped in brandy before sealing gives extra protection, but is not essential

  • If you use a thermometer, 105c is the setting point for jam

  • Another way to test whether the jam is set is to use a cold plate from the freezer and drip a bit of hot jam onto the plate. Give it a while, then tip the plate. If the jam is not set yet, it will run off.

  • Remove scum after the jam has cooked otherwise you waste a lot.

  • Wash fruit well and chop by hand for a chunky jam, or blend it for a smoother jam.

  • Always make more as everyone wants this jam after they taste it!


Recipe

Ingredients

2 kg stoned ripe Apricots

3 lemons

2,5 to 3 kg white sugar (I go with 2,5 kg)

Enough apricot kernels for each jar to have 3 or 4 in

Apricos, sugar and lemons for jam - Living Almost Naturally
Apricots, sugar and lemons for jam
  • Wash, stone and weigh your fruit.

  • Chop roughly, or if you prefer a smooth jam, put it through the blender before cooking

  • Add to your heavy-based pot

  • Halve the lemons, take pips out, squeeze the juice into the pot, and throw peels in also

  • Bring to a boil (don't burn it) until the apricots are soft add the sugar and heat slowly until it's all dissolved. Do not boil until all sugar has dissolved

  • Then boil rapidly for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally

  • Whilst your jam is cooking, crack open the apricot pips (see tips) and remove the kernel. Stir these into the jam at the end

  • When your jam has reached the setting point take off the heat, and remove the lemons

  • Bottle while still hot


Please let us know how your jam turned out for you. We look forward to hearing from you.

I will be sharing a delicious free-range organic sticky chicken dish soon. Made from this very

jam. It is also excellent to use as a middle for a two-layered chocolate cake, as it breaks the

sweetness.









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