(Whilst reading this you need to spotify Black Betty by Ram Jam. It is entirely unrelated to what I am writing but it is a great song and has the word Jam in it.)
It’s time for a jam session. The whole summer is should be one long jam session actually. Apricot jam into strawberry jam into cherry jam into peach jam, and on it goes. As always spurn fruits from elsewhere. The combination of Ibiza’s rich red soil, warm climate and proximity to the sea make its terroir (get him) unique and causes its produce to excel. Literally everything that grows here is better than I have tried anywhere else. Have you tried the avocados? There are no others like them. Even in Mexico where the avocado was invented.
My latest batch has been apricot jam. Kilos and kilos of the stuff. The fruits vary in size and colour but this makes little odds when making jam. They just need to be from here. There are larger ones that tend to be that pale, orangey yellow that most people will recognise as an apricot and then there are the smaller ones in their sexy mottled pink coats. When choosing them they have to be ripe but that’s about it. Buy a couple of kilos because stoning them wont take long, it takes as much time to make one pot as it does ten and jam lasts forever. Unlike love, which fades and dies.
When you have stoned them, crack the stones with something hard, and remove the kernel. These go into the jam. They add a hint of almond, which will raise the jam to even higher levels of excellence. You can add these kernels crushed to the mix or put them inside muslin and boil them with the apricots and sugar, removing them at the end. I have to say the cracking of the stones is slightly tedious and messy so don’t bother if you have a hangover. Thinking about it, don’t make jam with a hangover. One must take boiling sugar seriously. If it gets on you it will keep on burning – like napalm.
The last thing you MUST do is use the appropriate measure of sugar. Do not skimp – too little will not do the apricots justice and your jam will go off.
2k ripe apricots
1.5 kilos white sugar
• Twist the apricots along the line that runs pole to pole and pull out the stone. Crack the stones and put the kernels into muslin.
• Put the apricots and sugar into a heavy bottomed pan with sides at least twice the height of the mix. Heat on medium until the sugar is dissolved then, and only then, turn up the heat. If it throws up any scum skim it off now. Hang the muslin in the boiling liquid. Make sure it’s suspended above the bottom of the pan or it will stick like buggery.
• If you have a sugar thermometer boil it till it reaches 104ºC and turn it off. If you don’t then boil it till it starts to look less watery and more syrupy. This takes a while. To test put a spoon in, remove and let it cool slightly. If it has a viscose quality take it off the heat, it is ready.
• When it has cooled put it into JAM JARS.
• At the very first opportunity make toast, thickly butter and spread with the jam. You will have a nice day.