This is the last skip on my broken record. I promise. At least for another week or so.
This time, I used the rest of the apricots (they were $0.69/lb!), but I tried something a little different with them. Different from Thursday’s recipe, not different as in original. I found an apricot lavender jam recipe on Pinterest – I loved the photos, so I knew I had to try it. If the pictures are that good, then surely the jam must taste mah-velous. How’s that for logic?
Per my usual, I didn’t quite follow the recipe, but I did follow the instructions on letting the sugar-apricot-lavender mixture macerate for several hours. I prepped the bowlful of fruit, sugar and lavender in the morning, and completed the jam when I got home from work. I also added classic pectin and lemon juice.
When I first started making jam, I shied away from the addition of pectin, seeing it as an unnecessary additive. I remember discussing my first batch of strawberry jam with my great-grandmother, the most experienced preservationist I know. Much to her chagrin, I rambled on about the lemon zest that could do what her preferred Sure-Jell would do, but with less cost, less packaging, less chemical interference, etc. And it can. It just takes longer. And I’m not just talking about the time to zest the lemon. It takes more cooking time to get the pectin to release. Maybe there’s a way around it, but I haven’t figured out how to maximize the pectin from lemon zest (for faster gelling) without cooking my fruit down so much that it’s lost the freshness of the preservation.
Can you boil lemon peel and use the water as part of the start for your own jam? It might be worth a shot someday. But I learned that the powdered pectin is derived from the peel of citrus fruits, apples, and beets. While “derived” conjures images of “cheese product” and “fruit cocktail”, this is something that I feel I can live with as it allows the fruit to stay fresher tasting in the jam. Overcooking also condenses the mixture and changes the color a bit. I like my jam to look as much like the color of the fruit flesh that went into it as possible.
recipe, loosely speaking:
2 lbs of apricots (I actually used a few apricots over 2lbs bc I needed to get rid of them)
1/3 cup lavender flowers
3 cups sugar
3 Tbsp classic pectin
1/2 lemon (fresh juice)
Cheesecloth & string (or small muslin bag)
Chop fruit into thin slices
Mince lavender flowers and tie into cheesecloth
Bury lavender in the fruit
Refrigerate (I kept it in maceration mode while I was at work – about 8 hours)
Put saucer in freezer!
Add pectin & lemon juice
Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly
Boil hard for 1 solid minute
Test. If jam runs, boil a bit longer and test again.
Put up! Into mason jars following proper canning protocol. or into some recycled jam and jelly jars for immediate and refrigerated giveaways. 🙂
I’m not sure which of the two methods I prefer (brandy or lavender), but I don’t think I’m going find fault with either. Both are a nice tart, spread-friendly jam. It’s all I’ve been able to do not to go buy a baguette from our local French bakery and schmear the whole thing with butter and 4 flavors of jam. I refrigerated the last few ounces of each batch for my family’s tasting and critique.