While I know my blog seems to indicate that I spend all my spare time either rescuing, observing, photographing or eradicating insects I do actually cook a lot, I also experiment a lot but like the Novice Gardener it’s usually very off the cuff with no measuring going on and to further complicate matters I find myself, I suspect, using obscure(ish) ingredients. I have a fridge full of interesting things including both Chinese and Middle Eastern Sesame paste and cupboards full of herbs and spices including among the regular contenders such as Oregano, Thyme, Paprika, more exotic ingredients such as Allspice berries ground Angelica, Ethiopian Berbere, Chinese Heaven Facing chilis, Sichuanese Chili paste, Iranian Limu Omani, Egyptian ground Molokhia, Japanese dried Shiso, Iranian Sumac Lebanese Za’atar and Iranian Zereschk. So whenever I think – hm I could share this recipe, I reconsider, being under no illusion that others are quite as obsessed as I am with spice hoarding and also knowing that some of the above though truly worth having are not easily sourced.
However, I recently made jam, and homemade sourdough bread – nothing exotic there so here is a delightful recipe. I reduced the sugar by 50% compared to regular recipes, which means the fruit flavour is much more intense and which also means that once a jar is open you will need to store in the fridge. Also using smaller jars is better than large ones so you can keep the individual portions sterile. The recipe came out beautifully. Reasons to try making your own jam: it takes almost no time, you know what’s in it, and it tastes so much better than store bought!
Apricot and nectarine jam
800g apricots (1lb 12 oz), 400g nectarines ( 14.11 oz half white and half orange fleshed), 600g sugar (1lb 5 oz) – basically it’s 2 parts fruit to 1 part sugar
Jam jars to hold 1kg 400g of jam roughly (2.6 pounds) ideally numerous small ones.
- Have ready some clean jam jars. Put them in the sink, and fill them up with boiling water, I have never had a jam jar break on me when being filled with boiling water, so I don’t bother with putting in a spoon to conduct the heat like my grandmother used to do. Fill the jam jar lids with hot water too. Leave both to sterilse while you prepare the jam.
- Cut the fruit into pieces, apricots into 8ths, nectarines small slices, similiar sized pieces of fruit are ideal, but don’t worry about the shapes too much. Leave some of the stones in for the next step, I believe this improves and deepens the flavour. Cover the fruit with the sugar and bring to a slow boil. Siphon off any foam that appears ( you can eat this separately). Slow boil until the fruit is really well cooked and soft. Cover if you like, the jam tends to have little eruptions going on, be careful not to burn yourself with the splatters.
- Cook at medium temperature on your hob’s dial for around 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- When the jam is ready, the fruit is well cooked and has lost it’s shape and the syrup is thick, take the stones out of the jam, empty out the water from the jam jars, carefully, you can easily burn yourself during this step too.
- Fill the jars with the hot jam. Put the lids on immediately and stand the jars on the lid to cool.
I hope you enjoy it!