Most of my memories of summer are linked to things I ate and how I ate them. Under my grandmother’s apricot tree, I would wait as she cooked a fresh batch of jam from the summer’s ripest apricots.
While waiting, she gave me the most important job of all: extracting the kernels out of the apricot stones. I would hammer carefully, breaking open the stones to reveal the bittersweet white kernel hidden within. I loved to eat the kernels, they had the most delicate texture: the soft-crunch. Of course the kernels were meant for the jam, but I always managed so slip some out of the pile.
I would eat the jam piping hot, straight out of the pot. Smelling like fruity caramel, I would slather it onto some toast with a tiny slab of butter. Apricot jam is my breakfast comfort food. It reminds me of childhood, but mostly of how the simplest things can be wonderful. Hot jam on toast, nothing beats that.
For this post, I collaborated with my friend Ali Saadi who gave me invaluable tips on photography and lighting and who let me use his treasure trove of photography equipment.
For this recipe, make sure you use the ripest apricots, they're the one's that are almost falling apart. They are sweeter and their ripeness gives the jam the texture and warm flavor it needs. Here's my mother's recipe. Enjoy!
Prep. Time 1 hour (excluding marination time)
Makes 5 medium jars
(for this recipe, make sure you do not throw away the apricot stones)
16 cups ripe halved apricots with stones removed (about 800g – 1 kg)
10 cups granulated sugar
1 lemon, squeezed
kernels from apricot stones
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- In a bowl, place the halved apricots and pour the sugar on them.
- Lightly toss to cover all the apricots and set aside. Leave the apricots overnight to marinate in the sugar and release their juices.
- Using a mallet or a hammer, break open the apricot stones and extract the white kernels. Set them aside.
- Place the apricot and sugar mixture in a pot and cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil.
- Stir in the lemon juice and apricot kernels.
- Reduce heat and simmer while stirring for 20 – 30 minutes, or until the apricots melt and the jam has a thick, sticky consistency.
- Cool the jam for 1 hour, then pour into jars.
- Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the surface of the jam in each jar and leave uncovered until completely cool.
- Seal the jars and set aside unrefrigerated.
*Once you open the jar refrigerate after use.