Apricot and Elderflower Jam

Although the excellent combination of gooseberries and elderflowers in jam is fairly well known, fresh apricots are just as successful; in fact I think more so. The large, deep-orange, rose-tinged apricots available nowadays have more juice and flavour than the small, hard, pale ones that for years were the only kind available in this country.

Almost too good for toast, this jam makes a lovely topping for tarts and creamy puddings and is wonderful spooned into Greek-style yoghurt.

Ingredients

  • 1.75 kg/4 lb large (dark-orange-coloured but firm) fresh apricots
  • 300 ml/½ pint freshly squeezed orange juice
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1.75 kg/4 lb sugar with pectin
  • 15 g/½ oz unsalted butter
  • 8-10 elderflower heads
  • 3-5 teaspoons apricot brandy (optional)

Method

Wash 7-8 jam jars, arrange on a large baking sheet and put into a low oven to dry. Slice the apricots in half and remove the stones. Using a nutcracker, pestle or small hammer, crack about half or more of the stones and remove the kernels. Put them into a small saucepan of boiling water, boil for 1 minute, then drain. Now put the kernels and apricot halves into a preserving pan.

Put the orange and lemon juice in a jug and make up to 450 ml/¾ pint with water. Add to the apricots. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the apricots are soft but not mushy. Remove from the heat and add the sugar, stirring until it dissolves. Then stir in the butter. Shake and pull the elderflowers off into the apricot mixture and stir in. Return to the heat and boil vigorously for 4-5 minutes. Stir in the brandy if using. Skim off any scum and spoon the jam into the heated jars. Cover immediately with waxed paper discs and screwtop lids.

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