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Quite simply the most delicious tasting jam we’ve ever made. The tartness of fresh apricots marry beautifully with the earthy sweetness of whole vanilla pods – the very essence of summer. Enjoy with fresh bread on a lazy summer morning, smother over hot toast in the winter months to remind you of warmer times or simply spoon onto anything that comes to hand…

Another recipe adapted from the wonderful Diana Henry’s Salt sugar smoke; one of the truly essential cook books of the modern era.


  • 2kg fresh apricots
  • 1.2kg jam sugar
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 vanilla pods

Makes enough to fill approximately six 225g (8oz) jars.

  1. Halve and stone the apricots, then place into a large mixing bowl with the lemon juice and sugar.
  2. Split the vanilla pods in two, scrape the seeds using the blunt side of a knife and add both seeds and pods to the bowl. Stir well, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to macerate overnight or for at least eight hours.
  3. In the morning, give everything a good stir. The juices of the apricots should have begun to mix with the sugar and vanilla, producing the most wonderful smelling concoction.
  4. Pour the mixture into a large preserving pan and cook over a low heat for 15-20 minutes until the fruit has softened. Turn the heat up and boil until you reach setting point – 104.5 degrees Celsius. (It’s always a good idea to use a jam thermometer and do the wrinkle test – the jam thermometer to get you to roughly the required temperature; the wrinkle test to ensure the jam is set exactly how you like it).
  5. Remove the vanilla pod and pot in warm, sterilized jars. Cover with wax discs and seal whilst still warm.

This will keep for a year unopened – once opened, keep refrigerated. We’ve hopefully made enough to keep our guests at Chalet La Moussiere going through the winter, though those jars do look rather tempting every time we go into the cupboard…

Please note – these quantities can be easily halved or doubled, but be aware that making too big a batch increases the risk of the fruit catching on the bottom, and potentially adding an unwelcome bitter note to the final jam.