Apricot Jam 2017

The annual harvest from my friend’s apricot tree happened yesterday. There was much less fruit this year. It wasn’t netted, which is unusual but there seemed to be only modest attack by birds and bats, with no fruit at the top of the tree and very little fallen. We ate a very few (yum). Yield was only 4kg, including decent windfalls and usable sections from partially pecked fruit. There were a few under ripes left on the tree which I mean to collect in a few days. My theory is that perhaps the upper blossom was lost in high winds or storm? That happens in commercial orchards. For comparison, last year we got 15.5kg fruit off the same tree, and that was not a good year because we left it too late.

I decided that jam would take priority. So I’ve cooked 3kg up this morning. 1kg of gleaned and over ripe fruit has been packed into the freezer for later.

Recipe
3kg apricots, destoned and cut in 8ths
{kernels from 1kg
{pits from 1 lemon
{zest of one lemon
above tied in cloth
juice of two lemons
2.5kg sugar
very low heat until liquid
rest 1hr

bring to boil
remove stone bag
boil ~30min, stirring to avoid sticking.

This made 13 jars of apricot jam.

Differences from last year
-using my lump hammer as a tiny anvil for the kernel extraction process. This worked much better than just hammering the stones on wood as I’ve done in the past. One of the few kitchen jobs where safety glasses are well advised to be worn.
-less lemon pits, because I didn’t have any more. I had to boil it for longer to get a set which is likely related. I think I might have managed a better set than last year though? hard to tell until it’s fully cooled.
-The order of operation was a bit different prior to the boil. There was enough juice released before the rest to fluidise the mix but the sugar wasn’t all dissolved. Think I’ll go for just enough heat to dissolve the sugar next year and see if we avoid the foam discussed below.
-The strangest thing was that a remarkably stable foam appeared prior to boil being achieved. I’ve never had this before. I ended up needing to ladle the foam off to stop the pot overflowing.

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A couple of hours later and there is still foam left. It looks like the foam one gets on the top of good fresh squeezed orange juice and the taste is reminiscent of that too. I’m considering popping out for some cream, mixing it up and freezing the result as an experiment?

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And the jam of course. Labels have been printed but won’t be applied until the jars are properly cool.

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Apricot Chutney and Sauce.

Based on my favourite Apricot Rhubarb chutney but twisted towards orange, inspired by recipes on the net (by Delia and Antony Worrall Thompson). Cooked back in April 2016. I haven’t tried it since the cooking day. Must do that, especially since some of it has already been given away.

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Apricot Orange Chutney:

2 kg apricots, stones removed, halved
zest  and chopped flesh of one orange
1/2c sultanas
500ml (2 cups) cider vinegar
1 c (210g) light muscavado sugar
1 tablespoon ginger, finely grated (well out of a jar)
1 teaspoon salt
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
½ t cloves (lifted out towards the end of cooking)
1/4 t nutmeg, freshly grated
1t tumeric
1 teaspoon coriander seed}
2 t mustard seeds}
½ t cardamom seeds}- dry fried, then partially ground in the mortar
plus the cassia sticks from the sauce below

Heat slowly until sugar dissolved, then boil gently until thickened. Remove cloves and cassia towards end of cooking. Bottle.

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This year’s apricot sauce:
2 kg apricots, stones removed, halved
1kg white sugar
finely grated rind and juice of a lemon
2 cassia sticks

Heat slowly until sugar dissolved.
Ignore with lid on while finishing some other stuff for maybe half to an hour. This allows the cassia to infuse. Remove cassia, blitz apricots, replace cassia, simmer for 10min, remove cassia, bottle.

Apricot Jam

I’m still sick, so here are a couple more Apricot posts from this year’s crop and cooking. I confess the pictures are from previous years apricot adventures.

. We left picking too late this year! When I arrived to check out the tree, the fruit left on the tree looked well ripe and lots of fruit was on the ground. We gleaned the salvageable fruit from the ground and I picked all the ripe fruit. There was a little left on the tree but only a very little. We stoned and bagged 8kg of clean fruit and 2kg of “less than wonderful but likely ok if well cooked” and sent all this to the freezer. I also took 5.5kg home. 3kg of mine are now jam. Most of the rest are also stoned and frozen.

Jam
3kg apricots, destoned and cut in 8ths
{kernels from 1kg
{pits from 3 lemons
{rind of one lemon above tied in cloth
juice of two lemons (10B’s lemonade lemons this year.)
very low heat until liquid and simmering add 2.5kg sugar, rest 1hr, bring to boil, remove stone bag (a few escaped, which I mostly fished out during the boil) boil ~20min, stirring to avoid sticking. This made 11 jars of apricot jam

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I’m not doing Apricot brandy this year. I don’t like it enough to spend $30 or so on the needed brandy, especially when I’d rather have the brandy straight or available for hot chocolate. Must remember actually that apricot brandy is pretty darn good in hot chocolate. I still have some from previous years.

Apricot leather

I’m battling a mild cold. Just enough that my composition brain isn’t really here. I want to bring my preserving posts across so here is one from April this year. A friend has a very productive and wonderful apricot tree, for which I have been pleased to have picking permission over the last maybe 8 years or so?

Yet another thing with apricots. This was a kilo frozen, halved, overripe apricots found in my freezer on defrosting the other day. Defrosting this gives lots of liquid and sludgy apricots, not neat halves that one could dry. So my latest experiment was to try for dried apricot leather.

Boil down the apricot goop as far as you can. I got it to a thickish paste. The dehydrator I have on loan didn’t come with supports for fruit leather, so what to use? I went with flattened patty cake cups. They sort of worked but were not the best thing. I took the rounds to dry enough to sit on the drying racks without sticking or falling through. By that stage, the fruit had glued itself to the papers. I got the rounds off with a flat knife but it was hard work. Then I further dried the rounds to a successful result.

I’d say the technique works, but I need better substrates for the initial drying phase. Even proper baking paper would be better I think.

The finished dried rounds:
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This is the half dry stage:
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The borderline functional papers
IMG_7338

 

1kg apricots safely stored in a jar and not in my freezer, yay.
IMG_7354