French jam

From the book "L’Armoire à Confitures" by Laurent DUTHEIL and Jane & Glyn Phillips  (Sadly now out of print) (Notes in italics are by the friend who sent me the recipe)

Apricot jam

Ingredients: 1 kilo of apricots / 750g of sugar

Cut apricots into four pieces. Remove and discard the stones. (Note from me: if the apricots are small – and jam apricots often are – I cut them in half as I like bigger pieces of apricot in my jam).

Mix the fruit and sugar in a stainless steel container and leave to macerate for 18 hours. (Note from me: maybe about 12 hours if the fruit is very ripe and squishy)

Cook on a low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir from time to time. (Note from me: low heat is important; take care the jam doesn't “catch” at the bottom of the pan).

The jam is cooked when the juice has thickened. (I still do the blob on a cold saucer test to check that it is setting. However, you will probably find that the set is runnier than British jelly set.)

Put into pots. Cover and seal using the “upside-down” method.

Use plain, white, granulated or caster sugar. Recommended ratio of sugar to fruit is between 750g and 800g to 1 kg of fruit – depending on sugar content of fruit.

Minimum recommended is 700g sugar per kilo of fruit. The sugar is added to the fruit and left for some hours in a cool place prior to cooking. A plastic or ceramic container can be used but not aluminium. Ideal temperature is between 12 – 16°C but the fridge is too cold.

Times vary:

Raspberries and other very fragile fruits – 8 hours
Strawberries – 10 hours  (add juice of 3 lemons per kilo of fruit after maceration)
Plums – 12 hours
Peaches and apricots – 18 hours

Firm fruits can be stirred to distribute the sugar during maceration but delicate fruits should not be.

The macerating draws the moisture from the fruit, allows faster cooking and this both preserves the flavour of the fruit and saves energy.

Upside-down method of sealing
Sterilise jars in the oven (or whatever is your preferred method of sterilisation). Don’t cool: pour the jam into the warmed pots as quickly as possible. Tighten lids straight away so that the jam produces a vacuum as it cools. Turn the pots upside-down immediately and leave in this position until cold. Then turn upright. 


  1. Thank you for the recipe. They were selling confiture apricots in the local shop and the ladies said your recipe and insisted no lemons were necessary. When I got home, Google said lemons so I put the juice of one - couldn't do any harm - but I think I must have boiled too hard because the jam is a mush. Delicious but a mush.

    1. If your apricots are very ripe the jam will easily mush, but still be delicious, as you say. I don't use lemons and end up with a soft jam with bigger pieces in it, but never whole apricot halves or anything like that. For the fruit pieces to remain whole would make it a preserve rather than a jam in my book. :-)

  2. Thank you - now, back to the post.

    1. By the time the third commenter had asked for the recipe, it was obvious a separate page was needed. :-)

  3. Thanks for putting the recipe up as I was going to ask if the same could be used for strawberries as I see you have added that. Have you tried it with rhubard. Have loads of both this year. I usually make chutney with the rhubard.

    1. If you use strawberries you need the juice of 3 lemons per kilo of fruit to get enough pectin to achieve a degree of set. There's a delicious-sounding recipe for rhubarb and lemon jam which I'll add to this page as soon as I can.

  4. Thanks for the recipe, I will try it as soon as I can get my hands on some lovely apricots !!

    1. Good luck with your search if you're in the UK. I always have difficulty finding any at less than an exorbitant price. Not that they are cheap in France, but the quality is usually very good.


I welcome your comments and will always try to respond to them. Thank you for reading.