I’ve always adored apricots both fresh and dried and have enjoyed many an apricot tart, scone and flan over the years. I am amazed, however, that until recently, I had never tasted apricot jam. It’s got a fantastic flavour that makes it a natural for toast, or as an interesting element to slather on top of Brie before warming it in the oven. This recipe produces an apricot jam that is neither too tart nor too sweet. Be sure to weigh your apricots so you have the correct ratio of fruit to sugar. You can omit the cardamom if you prefer, although it adds an intriguing, subtle element to the flavour of the jam.
- 2 1/4 pounds (1kg) fresh apricots (approximately 12 – 18 medium)
- 4.5 cups (900 grams) sugar
- 1.5 tablespoons (23 mL) green cardamom pods
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Cut the apricots in quarters, discarding the pits.
- Crack open the cardamom pods with a mortar and pestle. Extract the small brownish-black seeds from the pods and grind these with the mortar and pestle until they are fine granules. Measure out 2 teaspoons (10 mL) of the freshly-ground cardamom.
- Place the apricots in a heavy, large stockpot and add the sugar and ground cardamom.
- Stir to combine, cover and let sit for 12 hours to macerate. This process draws a ton of natural juices out of the fruit and eliminates the need to add water, which dilutes the jam’s flavor. Stir occasionally during the maceration time.
- Once the maceration is complete, place the pot over medium heat and add the lemon juice.
- Bring to a boil, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.
- Adjust heat so the mixture stays at a strong, even boil and cook, uncovered, until fruit is very soft (about 15 – 20 minutes).
- Use one of these methods to test to see if cooking combined with the fruit’s natural pectin has helped the mixture reach the gelling point. (I typically use an instant-read or candy thermometer and once it reaches 220F, I know it’s ready.)
- Once it’s done, remove the pot from the heat and use a large metal spoon to skim off and discard any foam that’s accumulated at the top.
- Ladle the jam into hot, sterilized jars. Wipe the rims and attach new sealer lids and rings.
- If you wish to store the jars of jam in a cool place like a basement or cold cellar for a year or so, immediately process in a hot water bath. Note that the hot water bath processing is not necessary if you plan to store the jam for up to 6 months in the refrigerator.
Makes 4 – 5 jars.