Wednesday, July 9, 2014

week of jam, day ... two?

whoops! Sorry about that; I got the photo taken before dark, but I didn't manage to stay awake long enough to post last night - in fact, it was still light out when I fell asleep (sometime around 8:30pm). Such a long and productive day yesterday - garden work, painting, etc.

Welp, we'll just have to extend Week of Jam by one day then, won't we? Today we have an apricot preserve, an easy way to put up and save some apricots that most definitely would have gone bad before we got around to eating them. This is another simple one: just wash apricots, pit them, and cut into quarters. I used about a pound and a half of fruit (maybe two pounds?). I placed the quarters into a pan with the zest of one lemon and about 1 teaspoon of lemon juice - apricots are so tart and zingy anyway, I didn't want this preserve to be too tart! I added the seeds from one vanilla bean and a couple Tablespoons of sugar. I cooked all of this together over medium heat until the apricots had mostly broken down (be careful! The apricots break down into a creamy mash that can stick and burn very easily - you need to stir this one frequently as you make it). I left some chunks because, well, why not?

Then I added another 3/8 cup of sugar, with about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of low-sugar pectin, whisking it in rapidly to incorporate into the hot mass - and cooked for a few more minutes before checking the set and canning/processing.

We like to combine apricot preserves with dijon mustard to make a tangy sauce/glaze that we brush over pork tenderloin before roasting the meat in the oven, a recipe picked up from one of Martha Stewart's "Everyday Food" mini-mags years ago. Any leftover glaze is used as a dipping sauce for the sliced tenderloin. Paired with some roasted asparagus, wilted spinach, or steamed green beans, it's a quick and easy weeknight dinner - in short, I know exactly how we'll be using these preserves!

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