To celebrate the abundance of local produce grown in our region, every F.O.O.D Week we create a signature recipe so you can create a little slice of Orange in your own home.

This year we are delighted to introduce a delicious combination of apricots and vanilla to make a jam sure to be a favourite in every household featured in Sophie Hansen’s new book, ‘A Basket By The Door’. So get cooking and create some summertime in a jar, and enjoy with your family and friends — and it makes the most beautiful edible gift!

3.5kg apricots, cut into eighths, stones removed
2.5kg white sugar
2 vanilla pods, split
Juice and pips of lemon

Preheat oven to 160°c. Wash and sterilise 8 medium jam jars (the number you’ll fill depends of course on the various sizes of jars you use) and place a small dish in the freezer. Crack 15 of the apricot stones to reveal the almond-shape kernel inside. Place these in a shallow dish and cover with boiling water, let sit for five minutes then roughly chop (make sure there aren’t any hard pieces of shell in there).

Place apricots in a large, heavy-based saucepan or stockpot. Add 1/2 cup water, the apricot kernels, vanilla (scraping the seeds into the pot and adding the pods too) and lemon juice and pips, (throw in the lemon halves too and just fish out before bottling).

Bring to the boil, stirring often so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot and burns. Boil for 10 minutes, at which point the apricots will be lovely and soft. Meanwhile, warm the sugar by weighing it out into a large stainless steel bowl or baking tray in the preheated oven. About six minutes will do the trick.

After cooking the fruit for 10 minutes, pour in the hot sugar. If you have a sugar thermometer, attach it to the side of the pot and cook on high heat, stirring often, for 15 minutes or until the temperature reaches jam setting point – 105°c. If you don’t have a thermometer, do the ‘plate test’, i.e. after about 15 minutes, dollop a teaspoon of the jam on the plate you put in the freezer back at the beginning, wait for about 10 seconds then push your finger through the middle of the jam, if it wrinkles and resists a little then you have reached setting point.

If the jam is still runny, cook for another 5-10 minutes. Ladle into the prepared jars, filling each right to the top, screw on lids tightly and invert jars onto a tea towel lined chopping board or bench (this helps create a seal).

Recipe and Photo Credit: Sophie Hansen · ‘A Basket By The Door’ ·