Apricot and rosemary jam
( MAKES 3-4 jars )
Jam sugar - which contains pectin, a kind of naturally occurring or commercially made acid - is the beginner jam-maker’s secret weapon because it speeds up the process no end and pretty much guarantees that the jam will set. The pine-y, woody notes of rosemary add depth to the apricots and stop it from tasting too sweet. Once you’ve had enough of this jam on toast, try it in a marinade for chicken or pork, or with cheese. Jam usually relies on a 1:1 ratio of fruit to sugar - the extra weight of the apricots here allows for their stones.
- Put a saucer or small plate in the freezer before you start - you’ll use this to test the jam’s "set" later. Wash and dry three or four jars and lids and put them in a 120C oven for 10 minutes so they’re hot and ready when the jam is cooked.
- Chop the apricots roughly and discard the stones. Put them in a heavy, wide pot with the sugar and rosemary. Set over low heat. Stir constantly, mashing the fruit and sugar together with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, until the sugar dissolves.
- When the sugar is liquid, stir in the butter and allow the mixture to come to a rolling boil. Boil for four minutes (if you have a thermometer, it should be 104C), then remove from the heat. Put a spoonful of the mixture on the chilled saucer and leave to set for a minute. If it wrinkles when you push the surface with a finger, the jam is ready. If not, return the jam to the heat (and the saucer to the freezer) and boil again for a minute. Try the wrinkle test again - it should be done.
- When the jam is ready, remove from the heat. Pull out the rosemary stalks and set aside. Ladle jam into the hot jars and seal immediately. Store in a cool place.