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We get a lot of questions in the apricot season about which apricots are best for jam.

There are dozens of different varieties of apricots available to grow, so it’s a fair question!

The truth is, any apricot will make a perfectly good apricot jam. It’s always more important to make the jam with the fruit that you can get, rather than chase a “special” variety.

However, it’s also true that different varieties will give you different results, so let’s start with some of the more commonly available ones.

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Common Australian varieties

Old Australian favourites include Trevatt and Moorpark apricots (see Moorpark in the picture above). They both have fantastic flavour and consistency for jam. They also make a beautiful bright coloured jam that’s not too dark.

These two also share the characteristic of ripening from the inside.

That means that if you include some fruit that still looks a little green on the outside it will probably already be sweet and soft enough on the inside to make good jam.

It will also have a little bit more pectin in it than overripe fruit, which means the jam will set more easily.

Other varieties you might find

There are so many apricot varieties to choose from! We grow 14 different varieties on the farm, and we’re always adding more.

Dark coloured apricots like Goldrich are the least suitable for jam-making. That’s because sometimes apricot jam needs cooking for a bit longer than other jams to get a firm set.

Starting with a dark-coloured apricot like Goldrich can result in a very dark jam, which is not very pretty!

Does it really matter what type you use?

We think it’s more important to preserve fruit than to worry about having the “right” variety. Use whatever you have! You’ll just get a slightly different type of jam from different varieties.

But you’ll have fun, and almost certainly learn something about apricots and jam-making along the way. And unless things go really wrong, you’ll have delicious apricot jam to enjoy.

If you’re not growing your own fruit it’s always better to buy organic if you can. They’re grown with less (i.e. no) chemicals, so they’re better for you.

They are also more likely to have that true “apricot-y” flavour that’s essential to a good jam.

How to make amazing apricot jam

Here are a few tips to help you achieve success and good flavour every time. 

The basic jam recipe is equal quantities of fruit and sugar. Some recipes call for water, but in our experience you should add as little water as possible (or none)a. If you add water, you have to cook the jam for longer to get it to set.

Longer cooking times lead to a risk that the jam won’t have that beautiful jewel-like colour that makes apricot jam so pretty.

Cook the fruit first to the consistency you want, then add the sugar. If you add the sugar at the beginning, the fruit tends to stay in whole pieces rather than break down (if you like chunkier jam, then use this method).

Apricot jam, just coming to the boil
Apricot jam, just coming to the boil

Stick to small batches, especially while you’re learning how to make it.

  • 1 kg of fruit will make about 6-8 medium jars of jam and is a great quantity to start with. 
  • If the batch is bigger than 2 kg, it can be hard to get the jam to set. You may end up with a dark jam from having to boil it for too long.

Danny making apricot jam
Ophelia making apricot jam

It’s really important to properly sterilise your jars and lids before pouring in the jam. It should keep well in the pantry for a couple of years at least (except you’ll probably eat it all waaaaay before then).

If you’re not familiar with making jam, don’t be daunted, just give it a try.

As long as you manage not to burn it (pay attention, and stir often), nothing terrible can happen. The worst you’re risking is that you end up with rather runny fruit sauce (delicious on ice cream) rather than jam.

Delicious apricot jam
Delicious apricot jam

If you don’t feel confident with jam making, it will save time and mistakes to follow some detailed instructions the first few times.

There are lots of variations on this basic recipe, of course, so feel free to improvise and experiment. 

Happy preserving!

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