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!