Memorial Jams part 3

So, I guess I’m going to have to come up with an original title one of these days, but since we’re still in the week of Memorial Day, and I bought the apricots on Memorial Day, I feel it’s still appropriate and creates a nice complete series of jam-making.

Used this to crack open the apricot kernels, or stones, to get the “almond” inside.

This is what I got from the kernels. I didn’t really believe that they would look just like the almonds that I eat (just like them). At a glance you really can’t tell the difference. They are maybe a little smaller than the average almond. That’s all.

I just used a steamer basket to blanch the almonds, then peel their skin off. I love almonds. So, I tasted these to see how they compared. Just like almond extract, but nothing like an almond. Had to spit it out.  Seems like I read on someone else’s blog that almond extract actually comes from apricot kernels. No source to cite, though. Sorry.

You’ll see two schmears of jam here. The first cold plate test was a little runnier than I like. So, there’s a second. This is the plate tilted vertically. And you can’t really tell in the picture, but that jam is stuck. Not running down the plate.

the recipe, loosely speaking:

2lbs of apricots (about 12)
3cps sugar
2tbsp classic pectin
1 large lemon (juice from this was not measured, but it was approximately 1/4 cup)
Vanilla bean scraped out of the pod
2tsp brandy

sliced the fruit into thin strips (about 8 per fruit)
saved the stones
cracked the stones for the almond inside
blanched the almonds
peeled the almonds
set aside
put plate in freezer!
added fruit with lemon juice to heat
mixed 2 cups sugar with pectin and vanilla bean
brought fruit mixture to a boil for a minute or so
mashed the fruit while cooking
added sugar/pectin/vanilla mixture to fruit
brought to boil for 2 minutes
cold saucer test (not quite there, yet)
added an extra cup of sugar because it was REALLY tart (too much lemon?)
brought back to boil for 1 minute
cold saucer test again – ready this time!
put up!
(Yielded a pint and a half. Used mostly those cute little 4oz mason jars, so I still felt moderately accomplished).

jars looking a lovely shade of peach (or apricot or orange – likely depending on your monitor and degree of color-blindness) in the sun on the patio.

In case you didn’t notice the ingredients, the black specks are the vanilla bean, and the little white floater thing is the apricot kernel. Supposedly this adds a nutty, almond-like flavor.

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