Friday, June 26, 2015

Ginger Apricot Jam

Happy Friday! This week has been light on posts because I have been finishing all the small projects necessary to complete my kitchen upgrade, but good news...IT'S DONE HALLELUJAH!!!  Pictures will be posted very soon.

But, more importantly, the farmer's markets are revving up and last weekend I grabbed some early season apricots. Like figs, I think apricots taste better when they are cooked down a little, but if you're lucky to find a fragrant, beautiful batch of perfectly ripe fresh apricots, eat them right there on the spot!

I've been having fun with Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry by Cathy Barrow lately. To me, this book is Mes Confitures meets Preserving The Harvest and it is chock-full of homemade goodies, to include cheese making and curing meats. Although I do use commercial pectin in many of my homemade preserves, some things just need to shine on their own and believe me, it makes a difference. Most of Cathy Barrow's recipes do not use commercial pectin, which allows the real fruit flavor to come through with only half of the usual amount of sugar. This technique does take more time and practice, but it's worth it.

This recipe is a little take off from her Apricot Jam with Ginger and Rosemary; however, I left out the rosemary as I didn't want it to overwhelm the delicate flavor of the apricots and added a little flavored liqueur. The end result is herbal, fruity, and fresh and perfect with a smear of goat cheese on a cracker.

Kathy's Ginger Apricot Jam
Recipe Source/Modified: Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry
Makes 4 half pints

3 lbs. fresh, ripe apricots
3 cups sugar
3 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1-2 tablespoons Grand Mariner liqueur (optional)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter

Note: You will need a candy thermometer for this recipe

Cut the apricots in half, pit, slice each half into 3-4 wedges, and place in a large bowl. Stir in sugar, ginger, liqueur, and lemon juice. Stir well for several minutes, until the sugar begins to dissolve: be gentle, so the apricots stay as intact as possible. Cover bowl and refrigerate at least 12 hours, preferably overnight, giving the mixture a stir every now and then.

Pour the apricots and produced syrup into a colander set over a preserving pot, and let drain for a few minutes. Transfer the colander to a bowl to capture any additional syrup.

Set the preserving pot over medium-high heat, clip on the candy thermometer, and bring the syrup to 220°F. Add the apricots and any syrup in the bowl and stir well. Continue to stir as the mixture reaches a boil that won't stir down. Be hyper aware, as this is when the fruit may scorch. Cook the jam at this vigorous boil until the fruit is no longer floating and the foam has dispersed to the edges of the pot. Remove from heat and let cool for 2 minutes.

Check the gel set. If the jam is still very saucy and not set, then return to a boil and cook until it reaches gel stage. Test the set again. Stir in the butter if using.

Ladle jam into prepared half pints, add prepared lids, and process in a BWB for 10 minutes.

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