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ALMONDS from APRICOTS ? . . . Yes ! (but I’ll explain later).

This summer, I’ve been giving a few cooking workshops during the ecologically-conscious Festival #ENSEMBLE! in the Cité de la Mode et du Design, overlooking the Seine river and which is literally a 5-minute bike ride from my place.

The event takes place over a 6-week period, highlighting ecologically-friendly fashion, green design, architecture, lectures, exhibitions, performances, encounters and of course food, eating and cooking, today and in the future.

I was happy to participate by animating 4 cooking workshops during the weekends and in contributing to the Opération Garde-Manger (Pantry Operation in English) in which different shops, delicatessens, food companies, chefs and bloggers will be preparing and donating all types of preserves which will be sold to the public and the benefits of this 3-day sale from August 25-27 will go to the Le Récho Association which is involved with delivering aid to refugee camps across Europe … it’s a good cause.

Back to the JAM. Apricot jam isn’t particularly fancy (but lovely and summery) nor is it a difficult process, once you get past the pitting, the chopping, the mixing, the cooking, and the transferring to sterilized jars.

Jams = cooked fruits + sugar (sometimes some added pectin but I use the pectin from the lemon rinds) + other optional flavorings.

What did I do differently ? I used APRICOT ALMONDS which are those little things inside the kernels (which is actually the pit and usually discarded) but if you crack it open, SURPRISE ! When fresh, the almond tastes bitter like a bitter almond (yeah, just backwards) and no it’s not toxic unless you consume kilograms. In addition, I grill/roast them in the oven, which removes their bitterness and when added to the cooked jam, adds a new texture and taste … see how easy that is ? No waste (or almost none).

Enjoy . . . whether you make some yourself following this recipe or if go to the sale to buy one of mine (I made 12 small jars and I’ll drop them off next week before flying to Montreal). By the way, I also put together some pretty yet sober country-style packaging to make it all  “sugar & spice and all that’s nice” . . . :)

apricot jam with its own apricot almonds

18.08.2017

2 kg (or 16 jars x 125 grams)

ingredients

  • 2 kg (about 10 cups) pitted apricots (from 2,25 kg whole apricots)
  • 1 kg (5 cups) golden cane sugar
  • 60 ml (4 tbsp) lemon and/or lime juice
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) apple cider vinegar
  • 30 grams apricot almonds (extracted from the apricot kernels)
  • 5 grams (½ tsp) salt
  • 1 vanilla pod (split in half)
  • optional : 1 bay leaf

instructions

  • wash, pit the apricots and slice in quarters or in eighths (reserve the apricot kernels)
  • in a large bowl, combine the apricot slices with the lemon/lime juice, the pressed lemon/lime slices, salt and the sugar, cover and let sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours
  • crack all the apricot kernels, remove the apricot almonds, place on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes in a 200°C preheated oven until toasted, remove, let cool and reserve and rub to remove skins
  • after 24 hours, transfer the apricots and their juices to a deep pan, add the salt, vanilla bean, bay leaf and apricot almonds, heat until it reaches a boil (2-3 minutes), then let simmer for 30-40 minutes until all the froth disappears (do not skim it) and stir often to avoid any burning and/or sticking (you can also use a kitchen thermometer and when the jam reaches 104-105°C, it is ready)
  • remove from heat, remove the lemon/lime slices, the vanilla bean and the bay leaf, stir in the apple cider vinegar, use a masher to reduce the fruit slices into a smoother paste (if that’s what you like)
  • transfer to clean, hot and sterilized jars leaving a 1 cm space on top (sterilize the washed jars in a preheated 230°C oven for 10-15 minutes) , turn upside down for at least 10-15 minutes (or until fully cooled if you will not put them in a boiling water bath), then turn right-side up again and refrigerate when cooled

note : to preserve the jars of jam much longer and at room temperature, plunge the hot jam-filled and well-shut jars into a boiling water bath that completely covers the jars for 15-20 minutes, let cool down in the water, remove from the water and store in a pantry.