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Homemade Apricot Jam with Saffron and Cardamom

by Saara

I’m a true lover of homemade jams, marmalades and sweet preserves. During the stonefruit season, apricots are my favorite to play with and every summer I prepare something new with them. Apricots are in season and well available throughout June and July.

For the saffron and cardamom-spiced apricot jam, I prepped 4 glass jars of different sizes. I suggest that you also make the full batch so that you can enjoy this sunshine later in winter, too. Because apricots have a nice tang, it is heavenly on the side of a cheese plate. In fact, we first savored this jam with a selection of cheese & rye bread!

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Saffron spiced Apricot jam with cheese

A habit of mine has always been to make a small jar (or two) that I can give as a gift when visiting friends. If they like it, the recipe follows of course. This time I gave a jar of the spiced apricot jam to our neighbors who loved it pancakes.

Essential Tips for stress-free Jamming

Sometimes I hear that people are discouraged to make homemade preserves. I think this is a shame because when you cook homemade jams and whatnot, you can choose your sugar intake, avoid the unhealthy extras, and enjoy the play of flavors. Here’s how I make it work.

Use only quality ingredients and follow a simple process. Choose firm but not hard fruits from the store. It’s a good idea to keep the apricots in the fridge at home to let them ripen before cooking the jam. The dots on the skin don’t matter but don’t use a damaged fruit because it can ruin the whole thing.

When making a big amount of jam, first soak the canning jars in cold water and then wash them. I usually set jars to soak in the morning and do the washing the night/afternoon before so I’m all set to preserve the next day. If you make a smaller batch that you know is eaten within a couple of months, it’s okay to skip the soaking step.

I sterilize mason jars just before cooking with the dry method. Place the jars in a cold oven, warm it up to 100-125C, and heat the jars for 15 minutes. The lids & rubber bands, on the other hand, are quickly dipped in boiling water and then dried thoroughly. Overall, a kettle of boiling water is a savior when you need to sterilize a new spoon or a funnel in the middle of canning.

Here’s my checklist for stress-free jamming:

  • choosing quality ingredients
  • prepping and following a simple process instead of doing everything at once
  • a heavy-based pot so that the jam doesn’t burn when cooking
  • clean kitchen towels for handling the hot bottles and drying lids
  • a wide funnel to not make a mess
  • a kettle of boiling water for sterilizing tools on the go and cleaning up any mess
Homemade spiced apricot jam

Apricot jam with Saffron & Cardamom | RECIPE

Homemade spiced apricot jam

Apricot Jam with Saffron and Cardamom

I’m a true lover of homemade jams, marmalades and sweet preserves. During the stonefruit season, apricots are my favorite to play with and every… Sweet apricot jam, saffron, cardamom European Print This
Makes/Serves: Makes 2-4 jars Prep Time: Cooking/Prepping:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 kg apricots
  • 60 ml of water
  • 600-700 grams of granulated sugar (I used 620g)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • a pinch of saffron ( I used 1/3 of a 0,5-gram bag of dried saffron)
  • 0,5 tsp crushed ground cardamom

METHOD

PREPPING & COOKING

Place a small plate in the freezer. Clean and wash the apricots. Cut the fruits in half and extract the kernels. Measure water into the bottom of the pot and then layer fruit pieces on top. Set the stove to medium heat and bring the fruits to boil slowly. In the meanwhile, prepare your canning setup and sterilize the washed glass jars in 125C oven for 15 minutes. Shut off the oven and let the jars rest in the warm oven before canning. Dip the rubber bands and lids in hot water and dry them carefully. Bloom the saffron in a small amount of room temperature/cold water. 

Measure sugar and mix it with spices and add them to the pot when apricots have softened and released juice. Bring the mixture to boil & let it simmer at low heat. Avoid stirring. You can carefully shake the pot couple of times to make sure the bottom of the jam is not burning. Check the taste if you would like to have more saffron or cardamom.

Skimm any foam with a spoon or a shallow ladle. If your jam is bubbling fiercely, lower the temperature to avoid excess foam. Let the apricot jam cook over low heat up to 40 minutes.

When you notice that the jam's texture looks thick and gel-like, take it off the heat and make the cold plate test. Take the small plate from the freezer, place a spoonful of jam on it, and place it back to the chill for a few minutes. When you push a knife through the jam, wrinkles and a gap will tell you that the jam is ready to be canned. 

CANNING
Can the apricot jam into hot jars (a wide funnel is a great tool here to avoid an unnecessary mess). Wipe any residue or marks of jam with a clean cloth dipped in the boiling water.

Leave a little air space (1cm) before the top. Close the jar immediately before continuing with the next jar. Let the jars cool on a rack or on a kitchen towel completely before transferring them into fridge.  The metallic lids will "click" when a good vacuum seal is reached.

NOTES

When using quality ingredients, following careful hygiene in the preserving process and storing correctly, the apricot jam stays fresh months and up to a year.

The marriage of Saffron & Cardamom

Saffron and cardamom give the apricot jam a beautiful strong character. In fact, these two spices have a long marriage. Unfortunately, I didn’t have cardamom pods available so I had to use ground cardamom.

These are both strong spices and you don’t need to use much. Saffron does not only have divine notes but it’s the most expensive spice in the world! Saffron gives distinctive succinct taste too sweet dishes & indeed it divides people whether they like it or not. I’m team saffron all the way. For example, my saffron white chocolate cookies have a teaspoon of saffron!

What I found interesting is that both saffron and cardamom have cooling effects which makes them excellent summer spices. To me, this is a revelation because, with a Nordic background, I mostly come to use these in winter and spring baking!

Previously I’ve also enjoyed cumin and turmeric-spiced apricot jams & compotes. These versions I associated more with savory dishes but saffron and cardamon jam for everything cheese and anything breakfast.

I’m always looking for the prettiest jars by the way. This jar you see in the photos is an old olive jar to which I found a new lid. I keep a good rotation in my glass jar section and save the prettiest. On the side, I have a selection of mason jars of different sizes. I know that the shelves are pretty much full, but look at these! How pretty are these 8 ounce Ball Mason Jars*? My five year old me want to gift the whole neighborhood with jams and marmalades in these jars.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and do let me know if you cook some apricot jam, either comment below or tag me on Instagram 🙂

Love,

Saara

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