What you’ll need:
A very large saucepan (if you have a preserving pan, better)
1.8 Kg (4 lb) fresh apricots – washed, halved and stoned
450 ml (3/4 pint) water
juice of 1 lemon
1.8 kg (4 lb) sugar
knob of butter (optional)
Crack a few of the apricot stones with a nutcracker (or a weight, or hammer). If you don’t want pieces of apricot shell flying all over the kitchen, I suggest you do as I do and wrap the nutcracker with a tea towel when doing this.
Take out the kernels and blanch in boiling water for one minute.
Place the apricots, water, lemon juice and kernels in a preserving pan and simmer for about 15 minutes until they are soft and the contents of the pan are well reduced.
Remove from the heat.
At this stage you can decide whether your jam will ‘have bits in’ or be smooth.
For a smooth jam, use a hand blender to remove all the lumps.
Add the sugar, stirring until dissolved, then add the knob of butter (if you want)
Return to the heat.
Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for about 15 minutes – or until a temperature of between 96°-104°C (205°-220°F) is reached – stirring frequently.
Test for a set* and, when setting point is reached, take the pan off the heat and remove any scum that may have accumulated on the surface with a slotted spoon.
Leave to stand for 15 minutes.
Pot and cover.
Yield: 3 Kg (61/6 lb) approx.
* – How to test for a set: at the same time as you begin cooking the fruit, place three or four saucers in the freezing compartment of the fridge. When you have boiled the jam for the given time, remove the pan from the heat and place a teaspoonful of the jam on to one of the chilled saucers. Let it cool back in the fridge, then push it with your finger: if a crinkly skin has formed on the jam, then it has set. It if hasn’t, continue to boil for another 5 minutes, then do another test. – Thanks Delia!