Sunday, January 10, 2010

Apricot Confiture

Fresh apricots are plentiful and at the their peak in June in France. Apricot jam is one of the easiest jams to make because apricots have a medium amount of pectin so they do not tend to underset or overset. Jam making is a tradition well worth keeping when produce is in season to extend a little bit of summer all year long.

Apricot Confiture [kawn-fee-TYOOR] French for “jam” or “preserves”

2 1/2 pounds apricots, just ripe
3 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup of water
1 lemon, juiced

Place a few small saucers in the freezer to use to check the setting point.
Cut the apricots in half and remove the pits. Reserve four or five pits, and discard the rest. Cut the apricots into 1-inch pieces. Wrap the pits in a kitchen towel, and hit them with a hammer to break the hard outer shell, but keep the soft inner seed, which resembles an almond, intact.

Note: In France, the apricot pits are used in confections and confiture for flavoring. Remove them from the jam before ladling them into the jars, however, as they are poisonous if eaten.

In a large heavy-bottomed pot or jam pan, combine the apricots, sugar, soft inner seeds and water. Stir to combine.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring occasionally with a long wooden spoon skimming foam as necessary, until reduced and thickened, about 15 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Test the jam when the juice has thickened and the bubbles are large. The setting point has been reached when a drop placed on a chilled saucer forms a skin that is visible when lightly pushed. Remove from the heat and ladle into dry, warm jars and process as normal.

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