Sunday, 15 June 2014
A year in a jam jar,what to do with a glut of apricots
How many of you keep track of the changing season with the coming and going of fruit and vegetables? I certainly do.Since we moved to Portugal and had our own fruit trees, garden herbs and tomato bushes to contend with, we have relied on seasonal sustainability.
Almost every year right about now I start to panic as I realize we are heading towards the jammin' season.Bottle, pittle, preserve and store,for the glut of whats fresh now will be what you need to fill the store cupboard ready for the dearth of winter.
If done quickly, and correctly you will more often than not preserve the "goodness" in the produce. Jams, jellies, pickles, chutneys, salting, drying, and bottling, are now all part of the my repertoire.
At the moment I've had to adjust my focus to apricots.It's been raining apricots here, literally.So it's been a hazard to walk near the tree for fear of being the target of a free fall apricot.
This year the apricots have overwhelmed me with an excessively abundant supply of soft fruit.My preserving pan has not been able to keep abreast with the daily supply(on average 1.5kg a day for the last ten days).
First up was apricot jam.Fragrant and mellow with a beautiful dark golden hue that in a few months time will capture the very essence of summer.It is a very versatile jam so don´t be afraid of making several batches: use it as it is to fill pastries and cakes, or warm and sieve it to make a wonderful glaze.This recipe is so easy and not time consuming.Its all done from picking the fruit to bottling the jam in about one hour.
My second use for the glut was a no cook apricot and honey conserve,and this is even quicker.In just 10 minutes you will have made 450g (1lb).The recipe "one of the best kept secrets of the Women´s Institute"includes cinnamon and brandy.In the name of versatility I omitted these two ingredients.The thought of brandy flavouring my early morning smoothie put me off.
No cook apricot and honey conserve
225g (8oz) fresh apricots
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons brandy
Process all the ingredients together.Store in a sterilised jar with an airight top for up to 6 months.Once opened,use within 2-3 weeks.
Easy peasy apricot jam
1.25kg (2.5lb) apricots
juice of 1 lemon
1kg(2lb) preserving or granulated sugar
300ml(1/2 pint )water
Halve the apricots,removing the stones.Put the apricots in a glass bowl and sprinkle with the lemon juice.Mix well and cover until needed.
Put the sugar and the water in the preserving pan.Bring slowly to the boil,stirring until the sugar has dissolved,then boil rapidly for 3-4 minutes.Add the apricots,return to the boil,then simmer for 5 minutes.
Return to the boil and boil rapidly,stirring frequently for 20-25 minutes,or until setting point is reached.Remove the pan from the heat and leave the jam to settle for a few minutes.Skim well. Ladle the jam into hot sterilised jars,the seal.
Shelf life 2 years
Up next apricot chutney?-but you will have to wait because I haven´t found a recipe that speaks to me, yet.