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My grand-mother used to make jam. She used all the fruits from my granddad much loved garden and bought a load more from the market. To this day I can still remember the sweet smell of her kitchen in the summer....
My favourite were always apricot and Mirabelle, a sweet plum you can only get in the north-east of France. Here's a recipe for the perfect summer breakfast. Take a slice of freshly baked baguette, add a layer of salted butter (it has to be salted, I insist), spread a generous amount of grandma's jam and eat outside, in the garden.
When Mamy (that's what I used to call my grand-mother) left us, I missed so many of the wonderful things she used to cook just for me. The simple things, her pancakes, her roast potatoes, her stuffed tomatoes, her jam.
Making the switch to shop-bought jam was not easy but Bonne Maman make fantastic jam and their Apricot Conserve has a little taste of my childhood. Mamy always stuck to a simple rule, half fruit, half sugar. More sugar and it's too sweet, you cannot taste the beautiful tartness of the fruit. Less sugar and it won't keep.
Bonne Maman stick to that rule too and apart from a drop of lemon juice and a little fruit pectin, there are no other ingredients in their jam, no preservatives.
The jam has the perfect consistency; it is not "solid" like so many others. You come across huge chunks of apricot. And it tastes good, sweet and tart, like perfect apricots should .
I am very fond of the packaging and I never throw it away. I keep each every glass jar with its pretty red and white gingham lid and use them to store all sorts of things in the kitchen and around the house.
The cost is about £2.24 in most supermarkets, money well spent for a lovely jam. Just wish I could be sitting with Mamy in her garden now...
As you'll probably guess from the title, this product comes from la belle France. And it is delicious!
For the uninitiated, a conserve is just another name for jam, only this product is a proper jam without any preservatives or colourings or anything other than fruit, sugar and citric acid.
Despite the large amount of sugar in the apricot conserve, it doesn't have an overpowering sweetness and not only can you taste the apricots you can see them as the jar is full of luscious chunks of apricot.
Ingredients: Bonne Maman Apricot Conserve uses 50 grams of fruit per 100 grams of product and the sugar content is high at 60 grams per 100 grams of product. The only other ingredient is citric acid which is used to set the conserve. Be warned, however, occasionally, according to Bonne Maman, apricot stones find their way into the jar!! I have to say that in the many years I've been buying this conserve, I have yet to come across any fruit stones so it may just be that the company are protecting themselves from possible litigation!
Presentation: The conserve is sold in glass jars with the Bonne Maman logo embossed and the lid is in a rather fetching red and white gingham, giving a very home made look, especially as the label is in a script resembling handwriting. There is 370 grams of conserve in a jar. For comparison, this is about 70 grams or so less than you would find in an average jar of ordinary jam.
Cost: I daresay this varies from supermarket to supermarket but the last jar I bought from Sainsburys cost £1.89. This is considerably more than a jar of jam, I know, but the taste is so much better that I consider it well worth the price.
On the down side, as this doesn't contain any preservatives, it has to be consumed fairly quickly (something that isn't a problem in my house) and also needs to be kept in the fridge once opened. It also contains a huge amount of sugar so should really be eaten quite sparingly.
If you can't afford a foreign holiday this year, sit in the garden with a cup of coffee and a croissant, plus Bonne Maman Apricot Conserve and you could imagine yourself to be breakfasting in France!
To sum up. This is a delicious conserve with that home made taste.