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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Apricot dreams

Have you all been making the most out of your summer? Of course, you have danced around the beach with you new Marc Jacobs Bikini, and strolled down wearing your DVF wedges. But have you really made the most of your summer season. Did you take a bite out of that freshly cut peach from your farmers market stall or ate a wedge of freshly cut watermelon and letting the juices run down the side of your mouth. I know i haven't. Once August 1st strolled right in, I fell into a minor panic that I hadn’t made the most of the summer fruit season. I realized that I hadn't made my apricot jam or my Greek Cherry spoon sweet that pairs heavenly with the Greek Fage yogurt,  So, it’s crunch time. I’ve created a to do list of all the things I’d like to make before the end of the month, and at the very top of it is my Jam. I hope you give it a go and enjoy summer all year round!  

Apricot Jam
six 1 cup (250ml) jars

2.5 pounds fresh apricots
1/2 cup water
6 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean
One lemon, halved
optional: 1 tablespoon amaretto

Halve apricots, remove pips and slice halves into half again. If you wish, crack a few  apricot kernels and add them to each jam jar you plan to fill. Place these in a big saucepan with the water, cover and cook on medium high until the fruit has softened right downAdd the sugar and the vanilla bean, scraping the seeds into the hot fruit. Cook uncovered skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. As the mixture thickens stir frequently to make sure the jam doesn't burn on the bottom. Place a small plate in the freezer and cook the fruit mixture for about 5 minutes at a rolling boil. To test if it’s ready, just drop half a teaspoon full of the jam onto your cold plate. Let it sit a minute and then push your finger through the middle of the jam. If it wrinkles and is feeling nice and thick then it’s ready. If not continue to cook, then re- test the jam until it reaches that consistency. Once done stir in the lemon juice and amaretto, if using and ladle the jam into clean jars. Cover tightly and let cool to room temp. Once cool refrigerate until ready to use. 

Storage: I find this jam will keep up to one year if refrigerated. If you wish to can it for long-term preservation, you can refer to the USDA Canning Guidelines for techniques.

Europeans often crack a few apricot kernels open and add one to each jar before pouring in the jam, which isn’t meant to be eaten, but gives the jam a subtle, bitter almond-like flavor.

The jam recipe has been adapted from one by David Lebovitz. 


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