Never having made apricot jam before, I couldn’t understand why most recipes tell you to mix apricot stone kernels in with the jam.
A spot of on-line research indicated that apricot kernels are traditionally added to give the jam a pleasant, almond-y taste. But eaten in excess, apricot kernels can lead to symptoms of cyanide poisoning, so their inclusion in jam is entirely optional!
My recipe comes from the 1996 edition of Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion. I did include almond kernels (you can see a couple in the front jar of jam), but I’m not sure if I dare eat them.
To sterilise jars
To seal jars
- 1.5 kg fresh apricots, firm-ripe rather than soft
- 1.5 kg sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 160 degrees C (140 fan-forced).
- Wash apricots, then halve them and remove stones.
- Wrap half the stones in a napkin and bash them with a meat mallet until cracked open.
- Extract kernels and set aside.
- Put sugar in a clean oven-proof dish and warm it in the oven.
- Put fruit, water and lemon juice into a large stainless steel saucepan or copper preserving pan and bring slowly to the boil.
- Simmer for about 20 minutes or until fruit is tender. Cook a little longer if you prefer mushy apricots rather than chunks in your jam.
- Add warmed sugar and reserved kernels to pan, stirring over moderate heat until sugar has dissolved, then boil rapidly for about 15 minutes or until a small amount of jam put on a cold saucer and chilled for a few minutes divides into distinct halves when pushed with your finger. Keep an eye on the jam and stir every couple of minutes to prevent it catching on the bottom of the pan.
- Ladle jam into hot, sterilised jars, distributing the kernels evenly, and seal.