apricot jam

I've always had problems with apricot jam, but from now on, this is my method. I'm so absurdly pleased with how this turned out. The big change to how I've made apricot jam in the past is to soften the fruit first in a few cups of water. Stirring well. This reduces the risk of the sugar catching or burning before the fruit has pulped. For some of my thoughts on jam making in general, see here. Especially the bit about having someone else looking after small children. And the big pot.

  • 2-3 kilo of apricots including some that are on the green side
  • white sugar, the same weight as the prepared fruit
  • juice of two lemons (optional, but perhaps at the end)
  • jars and cellophane covers
To make
  • Wash fruit being diligent to remove all insects and bird shit.
  • Wash jars in hot soapy water and rinse in vinegar water (or better yet run them through the dishwasher).
  • Place jars on a tray in warmed oven and turn the heat off.
  • Stone fruit and cut out any blemishes or bird damage.
  • Weigh fruit and make a written note of the weight of prepared fruit.
  • Place fruit in big pot with several cups of water, bring to boil and stir and watch to make sure none of the fruit catches or burns and that just a little liquid remains.
  • Once the fruit has softened and become pulpy, turn off the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
  • Add equal weight of sugar (from your note) to fruit and bring back up to the boil.
  • Stir occasionally, making sure fruit is not sticking.
  • It should take about twenty minutes or so but this will depend on how much water needs to be boiled off.
  • When the jam is nearly ready the bubbles become thicker and when you stir into the corners there are little explosions of heat.
  • Remove jam from heat and test for set by putting a little on a plate, allowing to cool and pushing your finger along the plate through the jam. The jam will set if it wrinkles when you do this.
  • Taste for sweet sour balance. I added the juice of two lemons to a six kilo mix and it made the flavours sparkle. I imagine some fruit would need this and some wouldn't, so doing this step at the end makes sense to me.
  • Allow to cool slightly before skimming, pouring into prepared jam jars and sealing with cellophane.
  • Clean up and maybe shower away all the sugar and sweat, have a long cold drink and give yourself a big pat on the back.


  1. OK, I'm up to speed. This is similar to how I make cumquat marmalade (following stephanie alexander's recipe - just cover fruit in water, measure out fruit and water and add same number of cups of sugar).
    You're right about the lemon juice at the end too - it brings the flavours to life.

  2. J.
    Try jamming this way- don't use any water ever! If you do you will need to cook longer with more chance of burning and sticking and loss of fruit pieces. No water?! I hear you say. Prep your fruit the day before, that is wash, 1/4 the apricots, weigh. I use 4/3 ratio (fruit/sugar), add 1/2 (or all it is no biggy either way) to the fruit in a large bowl. Cover and leave to mascerate over night- it is incredible the amount of liquid that will be released and will melt the sugar. With a large colander/sieve drain the liquid into jam saucepan, pop on stove and get the sugar syrup boiling, when the bubbles become slightly 'slower' toss in the fruit, cook for a while, add about lemon juice and cook until setting stage.
    I use this method for most jams, apricot, rhubarb and pink grapefruit, raspberry, blackberry (using frozen berries). Remember adding water will just mean you will have to boil it off later. Apricot jam made this way will go almost glace and the last few summer batches have been snapped up and scoffed by everyone. None left sadly. Even the personal stash has been emptied.

  3. note to self - less water, about half a cup. Juice of two lemons to bring acidity up. Boil fast.

  4. Also don't allow to sit to long before putting in jars.