A Christmas Jam

This year we decided to give some homemade jams and cookies to our friends for Christmas. If you haven’t received yours, you’re either not our friend, or we just haven’t made enough yet. It’s quite an undertaking and over the last two weeks I have made 6 types of cookies and 5 types of jam, which translates into hours of stirring, piping and packing. Although I like all the jams I made, the one that is most Christmassy is the apricot, citrus & cranberry one I’m going to share with you today.

If you find the idea of making jam daunting and dread the mere thought of having to sterilise jars, let me assure you that you won’t have to. There is nothing quite as good as a homemade jam. it’s the one thing that is sure to impress visitors. “I made some scones and here’s some jam I made to go with it” just casually mentioned will make most people shrivel of inadequacy.

How do you achieve this casual feeling of superiority? Follow this recipe:

Apricot, Citrus & Cranberry Jam

The idea was to make a jam that tastes like Christmas, but without adding spices and I think I’ve succeeded. At least that’s what my friends tell me, but then they’re all very kind.

makes about 2 litres of jam

  • 500g dried apricots
  • 500g dried cranberries
  • zest & juice of 2 oranges
  • zest & juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 litre water
  • 1kg caster sugar (no, it won’t be too sweet!)
  • 20g pectin powder (you can get that online, or from a good baking shop)

Cut the apricots into 1cm dice, put them into a pot and mix them with the whole dried cranberries. Zest the lemons and oranges into the pot. Juice the lemons and oranges and strain the juice over the fruit mix. Add 1 litre water and bring the whole thing to a boil. Do not add the sugar at this point!

Simmer the jam until the apricots are just soft. You don’t want the fruit to fall apart. It will take about 45minutes to an hour. Now mix the pectin powder with the sugar. Make sure this is very well and evenly mixed, or you will end up with lumps of gel in your jam, which is not an attractive thing.

Have all your jars washed, dried and ready. Stir the sugar & pectin into the jam and bring to a rolling boil for just one minute. Turn off the heat and immediately fill your jars with the jam. Close the lids tightly, trying not to burn yourself. The jam is so hat at this point that it will automatically sterilise your jars, so there is no need to boil them first, or steam them.

I have used this system for years and never had a problem with any of my jams. They literally keep for years! We have eaten 5 year old jam and live to tell the tale.

NOTE:          It is perfectly possible to make the jam without pectin. It won’t gel as nicely, but the flavour will be the same. If you can’t find pectin, reduce the amount of water to 600ml for a stiffer jam, but make sure your jam doesn’t burn at the bottom of the pot.

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