Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Fresh Apricot Jam. Yes. I made this and you might be calling me crazy.
Fresh apricots are so expensive here and buying a jar of this jam seems cheaper. True, very true.
I was lucky to get cheaper apricots the day I met up with Swee San of the Sweet Spot and Angie of Sea Salt with Food. Swee San told me to quickly go grab a few punnets as they were just selling for RM10/punnet of 350gm each. Haha, I bought 3 punnets and Swee San bought 3 too (Swee San , correct me if I'm wrong). Now with so much apricots, the first thing that came to my mind was "jam".
If I'm given a choice of jam, Apricot Jam/Preserves always comes first in queue. Then it's sweet marmalade, then only it's strawberry jam. So, I'm making my favourite jam. Yum Yum.
I have never made jam before, and I'm not much of a bread and jam person, although I do eat it every now and then, but I don't eat bread daily and not even weekly. I only eat bread once in a blue moon and jam is even blue-er. So, this was done out of curiosity. I googled for information and then I came out with this recipe. A bit from here, and bit from there, but basically, it's almost the same as most recipes.
350gm sugar (if apricots are sour, please use 500gm)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1. Wash and slice apricots. Put everything into a heavy based pot.
2. Meanwhile, put a plate into the freezer. Boil 2 jam bottles and lids in water for 10 minutes, and your ladle and whatever utensil you intend to use for bottling or scooping the jam later.
3. Cook apricots (lid off) and sugar over medium low heat. It will bubble and bubble, just stir it every 10-15 seconds. I walked in and out of the kitchen during this time.
4. When the bubbling reduces (yes it's obvious), then start stirring it all the time so that it will not burn. The apricots will start to "melt" and you will see only "pasty" stuff, rather than whole bits of fruit.
5. To test whether jam is ready, drop a bit of jam onto the cold saucer that you've put in the freezer earlier. Push the drop of jam. If the upper skin wrinkles, it's ready. Put in lemon juice and let it boil for another minute.
6. Now fish out the bottles and lids (caution: hot), don't touch the inside or the neck of the bottle and the inside of the lids with your hands. Drain the bottles and it'll dry up very fast..
7. Scoop very hot jam into the prepared bottles. Be careful.
8. Then quickly put on the lid, screw tightly and overturn bottle. Remember to wear oven mittens or use a grabbing utensil for this.
9. Let it cool down completely overturned and the bottle will be vacuum sealed. To know whether it's vacuum sealed, just look at the lid. The bulging part of the lid would've gone down.
Do not open jam until you want to consume it, if not, the seal will be broken. Keep jam referigerated once opened.
If you're making this for personal consumption or you have loads of fridge space to spare, just put the jam into dry, clean jars (w/o boiling), no need to vacuum seal.
But if you plan to give these away as gifts or want to keep it in your cupboard, please vacuum seal.
Actually if you ask me, whether this jam smell super with all those apricots, I'd say, not really. It's due to my apricots. I used "sugar apricots" here. They may taste very sweet, but they are not as fragrant as my sour apricots used in the almond tart, galette and stone fruit cake. Next year, I'm going to get those sourish apricots to make jam. But no matter how this jam smells, it still smell like apricots, just not as fantabulous when compared to those sourish ones. Tastewise, very good. It's not that sweet when compared to commercial jams, like Chivers or St Dalfours. And you can spread a thicker layer onto your favourite bread.
My daughters love this jam and it's the fastest dissapearing jam ever in the house (until now)
How much did this 2 bottles of jam cost me? The amount of apricots here cost me RM15, and plus some sugar and some lemon juice, it's not even RM20 for 2 bottles. It's slightly more expensive than the two brands of jams I mentioned, but fruit composition wise.. mine is more. My MIL(yes, she's back) and aunt said, the best is eat with peace of mind. No preservatives and no additives. Please don't ask me how long this jam can keep. I have no idea because this jam was gone in just a week.
See the bread here? It's pumpernickel bread. I'll be posting this 2 days later. Oh yes, I might be trying out making apricot jam using dried apricots. Might only.. don't know when.