Apricot jam with cardamom

Round, generous and sweet, this fruit, native to northern China, fascinated ancient Romans, who introduced it to Italy: we are referring to the apricot - from the Arabic words al-Barquq - which is a sort of natural treasure chest full of precious minerals and vitamins. Apricot jam is a great classic of Italian cuisine, not only by tradition, but also because it is widely used by confectioners. It is easy to prepare and tasty, synonymous with summer and with fruit ripened under the Mediterranean sun. It is a simple food, which is certain to awake sweet memories in all of you. Ideal for breakfast, rubbed on bread, and perfect for desserts such as cakes and pies, it is also delicious with cheese!


(for 4 250g/9 oz glass jars)
1kg/35 oz apricots
500g/178 oz sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 or 2 cardamom seeds


Peel the apricots, stone them and cut them into pieces. Then put a vanilla bean - slitted and freed from the seeds - in a bowl with 3/4 of the sugar for at least three hours. Place a
large saucepan on a gas burner, prepare a syrup, adding the remaining sugar and a glass of water. Simmer on low heat. A few minutes after the syrup has come to a boil, add the apricots and the sugar, flavoured with vanilla. Continue stirring for half an hour, adding 1-2 cardamom seeds to taste. Meanwhile sterilise the jars and caps at a 100°C/210°F temperature, in a microwave oven, for 30 minutes, after making sure that the caps are clean. Leave them in the oven until the last minute. Half an hour later, you can check the density of your jam by pouring a small amount on a plate. Tilt it and, if it does not slide too quickly, the jam is ready. While it is still hot, pour it into glass jars. Close and flip the jars
and leave them upside down until they have cooled down, in order to obtain vacuum-sealed jars. Store your jars away from the light and in a cool place.