Sweet gifts cer­tain to im­press

Life & Style Weekend - - EASY EATING - with Mag­gie Cooper

IHAVE been a kitchen cap­tive lately, mak­ing pre­serves of var­i­ous types while the gor­geous sum­mer fruit is in sea­son – and boy, do peo­ple love re­ceiv­ing them as gifts. I’ve weaseled my way into sev­eral groups since mov­ing to my new home by hand­ing rel­ish and pick­les over the fence. I also truly en­joy keep­ing alive the old tra­di­tion of pre­serv­ing.

It’s not dif­fi­cult to pre­serve fruit and veg but there are rules. Jars and lids must be ster­ilised (see be­low), and filled and sealed while jars and con­tents are hot.

As al­ways, be care­ful. Boil­ing sugar is hot­ter than boil­ing wa­ter and you can sus­tain a painful burn. Kids and pets should be banned from the kitchen to avoid nasty ac­ci­dents.

French apri­cot jam

Makes 8x300 ml jars

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS: 3kg apri­cots 2.5kg sugar juice of a le­mon 2 pouches pectin (I use Jam­setta) 2 tsp vanilla paste 100ml brandy

METHOD: Halve apri­cots and re­move stones, cut each half into six. Place cut fruit into a plas­tic con­tainer along with the sugar and le­mon juice; shake to dis­trib­ute the sugar and fruit.

Place the fruit and sugar in a large saucepan. Place the pan over a medium heat, stir­ring un­til the sugar dis­solves fully. When the fruit reaches a boil, re­duce heat slightly and cook for 6-8 min­utes, skim­ming the pot to re­move scum. Don’t leave the pot unat­tended, and stir care­fully ev­ery few min­utes to en­sure the mix­ture doesn’t burn.

Stir in the pectin and re­turn to the boil; cook for an­other three min­utes. Re­move from heat and stir in the vanilla paste and brandy; be care­ful as the jam may spit. La­dle into hot ster­ilised jars and seal while still hot. Re­frig­er­ate af­ter open­ing.

TO STER­ILISE JARS: Pre­heat oven to 100 degrees.

Placed washed jars on an oven tray and place in oven for 10 min­utes. Place lids in a large bowl and cover with boil­ing wa­ter for a minute.

Con­tact Mag­gie at mag­gies.col­[email protected]­pond.com


En­joy the flavour of sum­mer fruits all year round with apri­cot jam.

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