Making Apricot Jam and another cheese bisucit recipe

I decided it was cool enough yesterday to make some apricot Jam. Our Apricots are not as beautiful this year as they have been in the past.The humid weather led to many of them being covered with brownish/black freckles. A lot of them outgrew these though so there are still plenty of delicious apricots. I have bottled some and we have given quite a few away. We have actually run out of apricot Jam so I had better get busy and make a few batches. It is always popular and makes a good gift. I don't have a sweet tooth and generally prefer to eat pickles or chutneys on my toast but apricot Jam made in the following way is not too sweet and has a delicious depth of flavour. Very good on sourdough toast.
Apricot Jam

You need equal amounts of apricots and sugar.
I used 3 1/2 kilos for this batch.
I like a mix of very ripe, just ripe and underripe. Very ripe for deep colour, ripe for holding their shape and underripe for pectin which will help the jam set.
Halve the apricots and remove the seeds.
Keep about a dozen seeds and crack them open to obtain the kernels.
Place apricots in large, heavy bottomed, stainless steel, cast iron or if you are so lucky as to have one, copper pot. (I don't but aspire to one)
Squeeze over the juice of two lemons. This is all the liquid i need to add as the apricots are very juicy.

Cook over a moderate heat for about twenty minutes or until there is lots of liquid. It should look like this.

In the meantime weigh sugar and put in a warm oven. this will make sure it dissolves quickly when you add it to the fruit.
Add sugar to fruit and the reserved kernels.
boil on a high heat for about fifteen minutes. 
Place a couple of saucers in the freezer. when you think it looks a bit jammy test a tea spoon full on the saucer. If it is done it will set quickly. 
My jam making research says that jam sets at 105 degrees Celsius. I used my thermometer but it only got to about 101 and it was definitely done. Any more and it would have been burnt. I like quite a dark apricot jam. the lemons and kernels give a rich complex flavour. We also make a variation called "George's ginger Apricot Jam", invented as a gift for Peter's brother who is a lover of all things ginger. Just add a couple of tablespoons of finely grated fresh ginger at the end of the cooking time.
When it is done bottle into hot jars.This made 8 1/2 good size jars. Put on lids and allow to cool. tighten lids when cool.I had some pretty covers that Zoe brought me back from England. They came with discs of waxed paper and cellophane circles. the idea is that you place the waxed paper, wax side down on the jam, wet the cellophane and place it on the top of the jar, hold in place with an elastic band. As the jam cools the cellophane tightens and seals. It appears to have worked. what i like about this idea is that you can see what is happening with your jam as it ages. If any mould is developing etc. It will be interesting to see how it goes.

Following my post about cheese crackers my mother in law Margaret sent me this recipe for cheese biscuits. That she used to make for Christmas parties. It sounds good. I guess the method is similar to the one I used for the cheese biscuits but you roll them in balls and then in the poppy seeds. I'll have to ask her for some more details.

Cheese Daisies -  2 tabs sesame seeds
                           1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
                            1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
                            185 gr. butter
                            1 1/2 cups plain flour
                             1 teaspoon  paprika
                              1  "  salt
                              roll i  3 tablespoons of poppy seeds


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