(laced with lavender)
This past week I had a little wrap party for “Prunus armeniaca” a.k.a apricots.
Yes, the curtain has pretty much come down on the apricot season, but recently I did spot a few tucked away at the "Red Barn" (a fave local produce store). Seeing apricots still available in September is a bit of a surprise. They ought to have disappeared like white pants and flip flops, but this has been an unusual summer so I don’t question it, I just slice, pit, and chop it!
Yes, I'm glad to report these golden-orange little orbs have now been transported to a second life, along with their pal ginger and a few late blooms of lavender. They now carry on happily united under glass, ready to be spread and spooned over whatever you can come up with over the next few months.
This jam can be amped up with lots of ginger and called Ginger Apricot Jam or use the ginger as a background flavour and stick with giving apricot "top billing". The lavender’s light floral note gets my nod for “best supporting role”, complimenting the zing of the ginger and lemons that is present in both versions. So if you get into this jam, you've got options (I made a batch with a little ginger then I made one with lots)!
I’m thinking the ginger dominant jam would be great at “cracking” its’ whip and zip as a filling for a chocolate cake or perhaps something savory like a glaze on top of salmon or as a dip for a spring roll. The apricot dominant version would be excellent in a sandwich cookie or just spread on your favorite bread or toast. I myself can’t help going for it “off the spoon” so I can relish each layer of flavour all by itself!
Makes about 6 - 1 cup jars.
Note: If you are not an experienced canner, please follow the safety rules outlined on canning websites such as Bernardin, National Center for Home Food Preservation, and Canning Across America. Botulism is serious so this is one time it pays to follow the rules!
- 3 pounds coarsely chopped apricots (comes out to about 6 generous cups of fruit)
- 7 cups of sugar
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 bunch of lavender (about a dozen wands) wrapped in cheesecloth
- 2 tablespoons of fresh grated ginger or if you want to amp up the ginger, use 4 tablespoons
First step, as always, set a china saucer in the freezer to test for gel point later on.
Stir together the chopped apricots, sugar and lemon juice in a bowl. Cover with a cloth and let sit overnight or for about 12 hours, stirring occasionally if you're not asleep.
Pour the apricot mixture into a large stainless steel pot, set on medium high heat and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, add ginger and simmer, stirring often.
Drop the lavender (wrapped in cheesecloth) into the mixture and continue to boil on medium heat, skimming off any foam, until the mixture starts to thicken.
Test the jam for gel point by putting a little on the chilled saucer. If you can run your finger through a pool of jam without it running back together, the jam is done.
Pluck the packet of lavender out of the jam mixture.
Ladle the jam into 1 cup jars that have been sterilized in boiling water for 10 minutes, leaving about 1/4 inch of headroom at the top of the jar.
Wipe any jam off the rims with a clean cloth or paper towel that has been dipped in a bit of hot water. This ensure the lids will seal properly.
Set on the lids and screw on caps just until they are tight… no cranking!
Store jam in the fridge to consume in the next few months or for longer shelf life, process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.
When the jars are cooling, keep your ears tuned for the happy "ping" sound the lids make when the seal has properly taken. It always brings a smile.