Apricot & Vanilla Jam

3 September 2011

Post image for Apricot & Vanilla Jam

Given the amount of jam which my husband and I go through (about 1 jar of Bonne Mamam per week), it’s rather surprising that I only recently got into jam-making. For a long time, I always thought that you needed a gluttony of fruit in order to make jam. And in Switzerland, a gluttony of fruit comes at an extortionate price.

I recently had some good friends from Germany come to stay with me at rather short notice. They had been hiking in the Swiss alps but were forced to abandon their trek due to bad weather. So they wound up at my place, thoughtfully bringing with them a box of apricots which they bought on the way down the mountain (and a bottle of sweet wine for hubby).

There were more apricots than I could eat on my own, not to mention that I was going to be in Cardiff for several days. So I dug out some cookbooks to look up different recipes for jam, and surprisingly discovered that I didn’t need a lot of fruit after all to make a few pots of jam. In fact, it is recommended to make jam in small batches in order to retain more flavour. The various recipes which I came across all had a common blueprint – equal weight in fruit and sugar, some water to cook the fruit in, and some lemon juice to help the jam to set.

My first attempt produced a fairly good batch of jam, perhaps a little too thick in consistency but still easily spreadable.

My second batch turned out beautifully :-) And now that I am hooked, I don’t think we will be buying jam ever again. In fact, I find myself looking at the fruit bowl in a new light! Watch this space for more jam recipes!

* I should mention that most recipes call for the jam to be cooked until the temperature reaches 105°C (225°F). However, my sugar thermometer never quite made it that far, even though my jam had reached setting point. So just keep an eye on the mixture as it is bubbling away – if it starts to look like it has thickened but your thermometer has not reached 105°C, you should test the jam as per my recipe below.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Maureen McMaster Silverman 3 September 2011 at 1:24 pm

Its so rewarding making your own!! This looks so delicious as well

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Anita Menon 3 September 2011 at 1:50 pm

The photos are stunning. Looks delicious

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thepatternedplate 3 September 2011 at 2:05 pm

There is such, may I say, smug satisfaction to be derived from making your own jams! I love it and its far superior to anything bought I feel. Lovely of your mates to bring you a box of them Thanh…oh and I absolutely ADORE the Weck jars! ;-)

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eatlittlebird 4 September 2011 at 8:01 pm

*Smug* … that was the word I was looking for! :-) And I love Weck jars too, not just for their lovely design but they happen to quite cheap over here! I can’t wait to stock up on some more.

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At Anna's Kitchen Table 3 September 2011 at 5:59 pm

Oh my gosh, it looks amazing!
I’m like you were in that I feel that one needs a huge glut of fruit to make jam, it’s nice to hear that that’s not the case!

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eatlittlebird 4 September 2011 at 8:03 pm

Hi Anna! Maybe you’ll try your hand at making some jam too? If you and your family eat a lot of jam, it’s certainly worth the effort :-)

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Claudine 4 September 2011 at 5:16 pm

I usually get bitten by the jamming bug around this time of year, and this year is no exception – I made one pot (yes, just one 250g jar) of blueberry jam with blueberries from my garden. Used to accompany some freshly baked scones with clotted cream, I can safely say this is another pot of jam that won’t be around for long!

I much prefer to make my own jam and now the wild blackberries are almost ready, need to dig out all my saved jam jars and stock up on sugar…

Enjoy all your future jammin’ sessions Thanh, great reward for very little effort.

Claudine x

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eatlittlebird 4 September 2011 at 8:06 pm

Hi Claudine! Ooh blueberry jam sounds delicious! And how much more satisfying that the fruit came from your garden! We recently moved apartments and now have two balconies, so I’m doing a bit of research to see what fruit and veg I can grow on the balcony. I hope berries will be on the list!

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Julia Levy 4 September 2011 at 11:14 pm

The great and wonderful darina allen says you can make jam with as little as one punnet of fruit. I love making it either with bargain fruit from the supermarket (three punnets of red currants for 50p) or abundance from my trees. Any which way the joy of making your own is unsurpassed. Yours are simply stunning :o)

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eat little bird 4 September 2011 at 11:48 pm

Oh thank you, Julia! Indeed, it can be quite cost-effective to make jam from bargain-priced fruit. I’m just happy to know that I don’t necessarily need kilos and kilos of it! And as you are the pro at making jams and preserves, I would welcome any tips you might have!

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nicola 9 September 2011 at 11:30 pm

This jam looks so delicious! I adore home made jam but I hardly ever make it myself..I’m beginning to wonder why not! Although having said that, I have tried a few jams from Nigella’s HTBADG and they were all lovely. Also good to know you don’t need to have a massive glut of fruit to make jam.

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eat little bird 9 September 2011 at 11:48 pm

Hi Nicola! I’m now trying to decide what type of jam to make next, especially before a lot of the stone fruit and berries start to go out of season. Thanks for reminding me about HTBADG … I’ll have a browse now :-)

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Paula 6 September 2012 at 10:45 am

As always, nice photos!!

Even if there are some jam brands I love, I always enjoy making my own at home!! And one of my favourites is apricot vanilla jam, if I have vanilla bean, I always think about making a jam!!

This week I want to make a fig (perhaps with pear) jam :) I want to be ready for the new season!! :P
Sometime ago I used to make the jam with lemon juice, sugar, and a little of apple, but now, at a German shop I can find the gelificant sugar, and it’s easier for me ;)

Can I say again that I love how you make so cute photo of a simple thing???

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eat, little bird 6 September 2012 at 3:46 pm

Thank you, Paula!!

I made apricot jam again this week and it was my first time using sugar with pectin added (gelificant zücker). I assume that you still boil the jam until 105°C? I guess we’ll find out!

I would love to make some fig jam also. The combination with pear sounds wonderful! Do you have a special recipe that you use, or generally equal quantity of fruit to sugar? With my apricot jam this week, I used half the quantity of sugar as I realised that we would probably eat the jam pretty soon. It was nice to use less sugar for once :-)

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Paula 12 September 2012 at 3:58 pm

Than, my gelificant sugar doesn’t ask for any specific temperature, it indicates only time and texture.

In terms of quantities, I use two gelificant sugars, same brand, and one asks for 3 parts of fruit for each one of sugar, and the other has a ratio of 2 parts fruit for one sugar. I prefer 3×1 cos the texture is the same, but the taste is more fruity. However, depending on the fruit you use, is better one or the other ;)

Wow, I don’t explain very good in english, I fear :P

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eat, little bird 15 September 2012 at 9:22 am

Perfectly understood! :-)

Silly me … I didn’t read the instructions on my packet of gelificant sugar! So I boiled it until it read 105°C. It looks a bit on the thick side, but I think it is ok.

I also prefer to use less sugar as you can definitely taste more of the fruit. As we tend to go through our jars of jam very quickly, I don’t think we need to use equal weight in fruit to sugar.

I’ve noticed that figs are everywhere at the moment at the markets and in the supermarkets. I hope to make some fig jam soon! Thanks for the inspiration :-)

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