discovering a simpiler life

discovering a simpiler life

Friday, 16 January 2015

apricot jam with a chia twist

Those of you who read my blog regularly, know I've been keenly awaiting my apricots.  They were deliciously juicy and sweet but there was only 11 of them so they were eaten, quickly!  A friend bestowed on me a bag of unripened babies a week ago, I rubbed my hands with was jam time!  I left the fruit in a big round enamel bowl but you could use a baking tray.  The point is to not have them piled up on themselves too much.  I lined it with paper towel and popped them lovingly into the linen press.  There they stayed in the dark for around 3 days.  I did check them daily, and any that were ripening too quickly went into the fridge.
the apricots before being left in the dark

Now, I do not profess to being any sort of expert at all in the jam or preserves stakes.  I'm a very, new beginner but what I do have is an adventurous cooking spirit , which will either be ah-mazing or be my undoing.  I've been reading about and talking to my Nan lots about pectin lately thrill seekers, as it seems I need to be wary of him.  I don't want to use anything artificial if I can help it so I need him to work for me.  I've learnt that if you take the seeds and/or pips of your fruit and pop that in an old clean tea towel (cotton variety and one that is thin and not fluffy) or muslin if you aren't a tight you know what like me :), and pop that in with your brew.  I've also learnt that you shouldn't stir your jam too much nor start it on high heat as this also messes and can kill the pectin too.
3 days later
I was reading Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella's recipe of apricot and almond jam, and I did some other research which lead me to my recipe.  

Apricot and chia jam
2.2kg's apricots
1kg sugar
4 tspns lemon juice
5 peelings of orange
a tspn or 2 of chia seeds for each jar
swatch of muslin or a clean cotton tea towel

Wash, pip (keep them babies) and cut them into bite sized chunks - around each half into 3-4 then cut them in half again, cutting off a few bad bits along the way.  

Grab yourself a saucer or a small plate and put it in the freezer, this will help you know when your jam is set.

Plop the apricots into a large saucepan.  Mix through, very gently, the sugar.  I let them macerate for an hour, but you can leave it longer or even overnight but I was too impatient for that.  Lots of liquidy sugary juice is released then.

Place your orange peel (you can of course use lemon, I just didn't have any) and apricot pips into the cloth and bind it up with kitchen twine or cotton.

Put onto a low to medium heat, with the lid on and resist the temptation to stir.  You should have a good amount of juice leeched out to avoid the sugar burning.  At this stage turn your oven on to around 150 c.

After 5-10 minutes, raise the temperature to high and once bubbling, skim off any scum that rises to the surface.  Put your washed jars into the oven and after around 10 minutes (although, keep an eye on it as you don't want apricot stew, you do want to keep some fruit chunks, so you can turn it down some what)  take the plate out of freezer and put a small spoonful on it and run your finger through and see if it stays separated.  Mine was still slightly not there so I let it bubble for a minute or 3 more.  

Now is where you need to act quickly and safely! Hot jam + hot jars remember.  Get yourself a ladle, a jug and a plate.  I don't like using oven mits personally, I like to use a dry tea towel and grab a jars out one at a time as it feels safer.  I  added chia seeds just before you get to the top and stir them through.  Ok, confession, I did add the chia seeds to some of the jars before putting the hot jam in and at the bottom they stayed...rooky mistake ;)

I don't particularly like thick stiff jam rather runny but not so much that it's coulis.  I also have to admit, I was in a flap, I wasn't sure if it was right even when I did the freezer plate check, it still seemed too runny, but I just kept thinking "well if it's too runny it will be called coulis!!".

And as for those chia seeds, they thickened the jam up naturally as they swell once wet, that was a lucky fluke!! But again, I left some just plain and the consistency is just right, not too runny but not thick.  I'm doing a happy dance!!

The only thing wrong with this picture is the lack of a batch of scones fresh from the oven........

Ciao, Jan x


  1. Your jam, jar and labels looks lovely and spell homemade which is even better. I did a preserving course last year and haven't done any preserving yet but really will have to make some jam soon. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

  2. I have a 2 year old apricot tree and no fruit yet..can't wait until I get some lovely apricots and have a go at making jam...maybe next year?. Your jars look great and I'm sure will taste delicious. I just love home made jams.

    1. Here's hoping next year is yours and my tree's big production years!! x

  3. Well done Jan! What an interesting flavour variation and yes I guess the chia would thicken it! So glad that you survived your jam making ;) I was looking for you the next day to see how you went!

    1. Haha thanks Lorraine :D The cyanide didn't get me ;) I'm going to definately be putting some chia into my next batch of strawberry jam as it's always so runny.

  4. Oh, homemade apricot jam sounds delicious. I'm imagining it spread on a piece of toast with a cup of tea. i"ve never preserved fruit (or anything else) but would love to give it a try this summer. I love your presentation - great labels.

    1. Thanks Susan, go on and give it a go, what's the worst that can happen? It's so rewarding and I'm going to have it on toast tomorrow for breakfast! :D


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