There’s been discontent in the house. No jam to go with the fresh bread and coffee at breakfast time. At this time of year, you can’t expect either the hedgerows or the market place to produce any suitable ingredients, so what to do? Then I remembered my mother’s solution to winter jam crises, and a good one too. Dried apricot jam.
I remember that she used to use those dark, rich yet slightly tart and chewy fruits that needed long soaking and cooking to soften them, though I always used to prefer to eat them as they were. Jam recipes recommend them still, but just you try buying them, even on Lavalanet market. It’s all the plump pale soft style these days. I was afraid these would deliver a slightly wishy-washy and anaemic jam so I added a few spices to the mix. And here’s what I made:
Dried apricot jam
- 500g dried apricots
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Seeds from 3 cardamom pods
- A chunk of peeled fresh ginger
- 500g caster sugar
- A large lemon
Place apricots in a large bowl, cover with a litre of water and soak overnight.
Use a potato peeler to peel the zest thinly from the lemon: chop the zest into fine pieces.
Roughly chop the apricots, put them and the soaking liquid in a large pan with spices, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Add sugar and the juice from the lemon, and return mixture to a slow boil until jam setting point is reached (105 degrees C). Remove the ginger chunk (I ate it). Pour jam into about 3 sterilised jars.