The stone fruit has been spectacular this summer… the nectarines, the peaches, the plums! Mostly purchased from the farmer’s market, but even our new little peach tree managed to produce a small crop, to give us a taste of what’s to come – such a sweet little tree that he is! Somehow though the apricots never managed to make it into my basket. Something just wasn’t quite right with them… they never looked like they held any flavour. So as you’d expect I passed them by… that is, until today. When I saw these little blushed beauties, I knew exactly what I wanted to make – jam!
Last year I made my first ever batch of Apricot and Lavender Jam and when I initially tasted it, I thought I’d completely ruined it with the addition of the lavender (perhaps one sprig too many?) but with time to sit… and infuse… and mellow… it actually became my favourite jam of the year. So… desperate to make this again before the apricots disappeared completely for the summer, my afternoon was very pleasantly spent in the kitchen stirring and breathing in the aromas of this delightful jam.
One interesting change to note… last year I used about 400g of sugar (50% sugar to the amount of fruit) to make the same size batch of jam, however this year I’ve enthusiastically adopted the idea of a ‘Low Sugar Jam’ from my friend Johnny, at Kitsch n flavours, who is working towards creating a fabulous line of Jams and Chutneys to sell in the UK (and hopefully beyond)! He makes jams with only 20% or 30% added sugar, which is a far cry from many other recipes that combine equal quantities of fruit and sugar! Mostly for the purposes of keeping the ingredient quantities tidy, I went for 25% sugar in this particularly recipe. The apricots are sweet enough and this allows their natural flavour to shine through. Plus, a little sugar helps to preserve the jam, so that it doesn’t all need to be consumed in the coming week… You’ll also see that I like to use lemon juice in my jams, which seems to substitute quite well for pectin. Apart from that, just be sure to protect your hands and arms when the jam is bubbling away, to protect from burns… the oven gloves came in handy today!
Apricot and Lavender Jam | Gather and Graze
- 800g (Approx. 14) Fresh Ripe Apricots (stones removed and chopped into chunks)
- 3-4 Sprigs of Lavender (flowers removed from the stems)
- 60ml/¼ Cup Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
- 125ml/½ Cup Water
- 200g/¾ Cup + 1 Tablespoon Raw Caster Sugar
Place the apricots, lavender flowers, lemon juice and water into a medium sized saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the fruit has softened nicely.
Add the sugar and stir to combine as you bring the fruit back up to the boil. Allow to boil for about another 10-15 minutes (stirring often to ensure the mixture doesn’t catch and burn on the base). When the jam has thickened (and ideally reached 105°C on a jam thermometer) remove from the heat.
Allow the jam to cool for a few minutes, before scooping into hot sterilised jars. Tighten the lids immediately and allow the jars to sit until they come to room temperature.
Sandra from Please Pass the Recipe has very wisely recommended that jams with less than 40-50% sugar should be stored in the refrigerator, as the lower sugar content may not be sufficient enough to act as a preservative if you intend to stack them in the pantry cupboard. So it’s off to the fridge they go!
very nice. do we feel the lavender when we taste the jam?
The lavender comes through in quite a subtle way, both in fragrance and taste… I find it a really lovely addition to apricot jam! Thanks for stopping by. Cheers, Margot
oh lovely – you have been busy since the last post I saw on scallops Margot, must be because the kids are back at school! beautiful photos, lovely idea, sadly not apricot season here at the moment so will have to store until its summer here, also love the pear “tatin” above. my sister once gave me apricot jam with rosemary, which also seemed like a surprising combination, but if not overdone works really well, funnily enough!
Thanks very much Poli! Interesting you mention the addition of rosemary… I’d actually been wondering whether a sprig of thyme might work… can’t see why not and you’re right, it’s all about finding the right balance and not overdoing it. This jam is disappearing way too quickly, I’m wishing I made a larger batch now.
thyme – yes why not – a little bit really brings out new flavours in jams .- it’s all about experimentation – I am tempted to go use that brioche mould I bought last year to make brioche to go with another jam my sister gave me – plum and star anise, if you haven’t tried that yet you should immediately, it is divine
Poli, plum and star anise sounds like a beautiful match! Another couple of weeks and suitable plums for jam will be available at our farmer’s market – I’ll be buying up several kilos of them I think! Stay posted… 🙂
I will -and I will think of you with a certain amount of envy as I look out into the garden where bare trees stand next to bare bushes, in sunlight at least, but at -4°C no fruits, leaves, flowers, or happy gardening or jam making in sight….
No need to be envious Poli… it will all be reversed soon enough and you’ll be bathed in warmth, with a batch of jam bubbling away on the stove! 😉
Oh – I don’t know about that 🙂 – it doesn’t really get that warm here and as I did a minibreak in Grenada in November I really shouldn’t be envious – I love all the seasons to be honest, but the thought of the smell of sunkissed apricots right now is very tempting! I have chilies in the basement for chili jam I just havent got round to making it yet !
I would love this jam, I totally love the lavender touch! x
Thanks Carol… I had it dolloped on top of some Greek yoghurt yesterday morning for breakfast and it was delicious! Might even pass for dessert tonight too!? 🙂 M.xx
Delicicious looking apricots. I cut back sugar on lots of recipes but have never been brave enough to do it with jam in case it didn’t set or keep. Must experiment this summer though sadly the apricots in the shops are very disappointing so I won’t be able to make this jam.
Thanks Anne! Most of our shops are the same… I think I was rather lucky to come across these ones! I’m keeping these jams in the fridge (as recommended by Sandra, in her comment below) so that they won’t go off. I guess that’s not ideal if you were to make up a large batch and want to store them… I’m keen to find that happy medium that allows for less sugar, but enough to preserve well.
That looks fabulous, I love the sound of apricots and lavender together, delicious!
Thanks very much Anna! 🙂
Beautiful website you have here, very clean with the choice of font and the way you picture your cookings, very nice! We are also increasingly cooking without Sugar and finding out that it is not needed in many occasions.
Welcome to Gather and Graze! Thank you for leaving such a very kind comment – I really do appreciate it! 🙂 I look forward to exploring your own blog and finding out about your sheep herding and storytelling!
@ Margot 🙂
Meeting like this is heartwarming, thanks for your reply :). We like visiting outside our own sheepy blog, there is so much good stuff to experience indeed!
Margot, your Apricot and Lavender Jam are gorgeous. I love Apricot and I love Lavender, I can smell a little of my Mediterranean perfume with your recipe, my childhood was immersed in this fragrance. Beautiful pictures too. Have a wonderful week 🙂
Oh Linda, I think you’re right… this jam has Provence written all over it! Perhaps that’s why I love it so much!? The colour, flavour and fragrance somehow speaks sunshine and happiness to me! 🙂 Thank you and hope you have a lovely week too!
Aprioct and lavender! Wow..lovely! It must taste really wonderful!
Love your cover photo! Makes me wanna make my own jam this moment! I think these would be fantastic for a crostata!
So kind of you – thanks Jo! You’re right about the crostata – this jam would be wonderful in it!
I don’t know what I wouldn’t give for having fresh apricots NOW! Apricots are my preferred summer fruit… and this jam flavoured with fresh lavender must be amazing!
Margherita, our apricot season has all but come to a close here, so that means that slowly, but surely they’re on their way to you next! 🙂 Thanks very much for your kind comment!
Apricot and lavender jam? That’s so creative, Margot: sounds and looks wonderful. As always, great job on the beautifully executed and elegant photographs that illustrate your post. 🙂
Ahh, that’s so very generous of you Stefano! I feel rather delighted, yet at the same time humbled to receive positive feedback on my photos from a photographer like yourself… so thank you very much!
So beautiful, just the idea of lavender and apricots has me imagining what a wonderful combination jam this would be. Gorgeous photos too Margot. 🙂
Thank you so much Loretta! I love this combination, so I’m really excited to know that others find it appealing too!
Lovely post Margot – your photos make me want to rush into the kitchen and start jam-making. Unfortunately it is the wrong time of year here but I will be saving this recipe for later when apricots are in harvest. Something nice to think about on these cold winter days though 🙂
Such a kind comment Elizabeth – thank you! Spring is just around the corner and then summer not far behind… your jam-making days are all ahead of you! 🙂
What beautiful photos, and I’m glad you experimented with the lavender for me – now I know how much is safe to add without it turning into soap 😉
And it makes sense to challenge conventional jam recipes. My mum has a preserving book that invariably has the same amount or more sugar than fruit, and I always put in less than required. It still sets and tastes so much better without setting your teeth on edge. But I like your idea of making a smallish batch of really low sugar jam, so you can really enjoy the taste of the fruit but not worry about having so much that it will go off.
Thanks Trix! I’m very happy to be your guinea pig… though my 3 sprigs of lavender may actually be a little different from your 3 sprigs of lavender (fresh/dried/size/different varieties etc) so I guess there’s still a bit of trial and error to go through… I think I used about 5 sprigs last year, but given time it really did mellow and taste wonderful. This year I’ve used less and it tastes beautiful straight away. It’s not terribly sweet, but very fruit-driven which is a good thing for my palate to adapt to, I think! 🙂
Love your take on apricot jam with lavender. I usually add vanilla bean or a few kernels from the pits to apricots, but I’ll try lavender next. If you hold back too much sugar you will have to refrigerate the jam as the sugar acts as a preservative. I’ve found 40-50% necessary if you want to store it, especially if you cook the jam lightly.
That’s fabulous advice Sandra – thank you so much! I love the sound of adding vanilla bean… and tell me, do the apricot kernels just add flavour (from what I understand, something of a hint of almonds??) or do they act as a pectin substitute as well? Great to know about the ideal percentages for being able to store in the cupboard too… I’ll have to add an update to my post to advise on this. Off to place my two other jars into the fridge so that they don’t go off! 🙂
The kernels add a delicious hint of bitter almonds but no pectin to the apricot jam. I use 8-10 kernels per kilo of fruit. The seeds crack easily in a nut cracker
That sounds fabulous! I’m tempted to go and search for some more apricots to try this Sandra… next summer is too long to wait!
Gorgeous pictures, Margot and the combination of apricots & lavender sounds just wonderful 🙂
Thank you Naina! It really is a combination that works so well.
What gorgeous colour! I’m very curious about the use of lavender, sounds like a wonderful idea x
That’s very kind of you Deena – thank you so much!
Margot, This is a post with treats, both for the eyes and the palate. Beautiful bright color in a beautiful kitchen! The jars and the labeling are gorgeous. I made jam only once. Now I have to pay more attention to Johnny’s and your tips in making evolved jams. 🙂
Oh Fae, I imagine that you would have great intuition with flavours when it comes to jam-making… little tweaks of adding spices and other flavours to complement the fruit and enhance the finished product. I’m so surprised that you’ve only made it once! Hopefully this will spur you on to make a batch sometime in the summertime! Thanks for your very kind comments!
this looks and sounds wonderful. i do love lavender in food, so this sounds enticing.
Thanks very much Sherry. I’m with you… lavender can be such a lovely addition to certain dishes!
What gorgeous little pots of jam! Thanks for posting this unique recipe!
You’re very welcome! Thanks so much for your kind comment! 🙂
Wow! Love your photos. Your kitchen looks like the place to be! Just had to scroll up for another peek. Shucks! I do love kitchens. 🙂
You’re so right about the blush on apricots. Otherwise they’ll just end up tasting mealy. You haven’t mentioned the set. It looks perfectly set in the photos. And I love those round jars. That’s the sort I would like to go for, but I can’t get them locally. Yes, the lemon ensures both needed acid and pectin. The other thing I use is a single piece of lemon peel (with all pith removed with a blunt serrated knife) but that has to be removed during cooking as the taste could be too strong. And I don’t add water for the 20%. Problem with apricots is they might be too dry. I just plonk on a lid on low heat only with the sugar and prepared fruit. And sometimes add a tablespoon or two of water if the pan is too dry, before the sugar will melt into a syrup. As yet I haven’t cooked jam with apricots. And would love to try this combo – credited to you, of course. Thanks for the mention. I don’t have WP configured for ping backs anymore.
Oh, and the other thing you can use are the actual pips from the lemons (and cooking apples) for more pectin. I need to buy one of those s/s tea infusers to be able to use it just for that, and to hold any whole spices (for the chutneys).
Thanks Johnny! I thought you might like that kitchen shot… 🙂 I’m loving the tips for the pectin – I’ll try the peel and pips next time I make a batch – thought I might make a Plum and Cinnamon Jam (another small batch). The tea infuser is a fabulous idea, that I might just pinch as well… saves hunting around for the pips at the end! The set is a little on the soft side, which I really don’t mind, but I wanted to keep something of a freshness about the apricots, so didn’t want to push it too far. Does that makes sense!? Perhaps with a little peel and a few pips it would be perfect. I’ve been terribly impatient with this batch and have already opened up one of the jars to slather onto a croissant this morning. I did wonder if perhaps this time I’d gone too light on the lavender… not sure yet, but it’s certainly not as strong as last year. Either way, it tasted delicious and a very pleasant zing from the lemon to balance it out! Cheers, M
Thanks very much Sonal! 🙂
Margot, I love everything about this post. The first photograph is so gorgeous!!! I love that you used only 25% of sugar. We try to eat only jams with no sugar added. 😀
So very sweet of you Francesca, thank you! It’s becoming more and more obvious to me that jam really doesn’t need all that extra sugar and in fact too much will get in the way of the true flavour of the fruit, that of course should be the star! 🙂