Monday, July 30, 2012

Apricot Clove Jam

Pump Up the Jam by Technotronic
"Make my day, make my day, make my, make my, make, make my day. . . yo . ."  This jam recipe does indeed "make my day."  Not in a Dirty Harry "Do you feel lucky?  Well, do ya, punk" kind of way.  It's more in the Technotronic "get the party going on the dance floor" kind of way.  I've pumped this jam up with ground cloves.  I absolutely love the flecks of clove in the amber jam!  They are a perfect pairing!  And, well, adding this song to the mix makes it a triple play!

This was my breakfast today.  Go ahead - you can be jealous for a minute!  I'll let ya!

What you have here in this picture is some ciabatta bread, sliced on the diagonal and lightly sprayed with olive oil then grilled on my stove-top grill pan.  Then it's spread with some fresh mascarpone cheese.  After that, some Apricot Clove Jam is dolloped on top of that.  Sigh!

Apricots.  You're probably not going to see me eating one just plain.  It's just one of those things left over from childhood.  But start putting them in jams, syrups, sauces, tarts . . .  well, I'll be right there!

You could also take the same idea I had for breakfast today and add some fresh basil.  
You have an appetizer!  
I also think the use of some chèvre in place of the mascarpone would pump this up even more and add some sophistication.  Use a nice cracker in place of the bread!  Add a small strip of prosciutto on top of the jam!  Oh dear - I think I'm getting hungry again!  I best be getting this recipe to you before I eat the whole batch!
Apricot Clove Jam
makes 3 - 4 pints
3 lbs. apricots
6 cups sugar
1 1/2 t. ground cloves
juice of one lemon

Clean and sterilize your jars and rings and set aside.

Heat a pot of water to boiling and place the apricots in a large bowl.  Pour the boiling water over the apricots.  Leave them in the hot water for just a minute then drain.  This step will help the skins just slide off the apricots.

Slip the skins off the apricots and cut them in half and remove the pits.  Place the apricot halves in a large pot.  You can cut them up smaller if you like but they disintegrate quite well while cooking so you don't really need that extra step.

Add the sugar, cloves, and lemon juice to the pot with the apricots and place over medium heat.  Stir and heat to a boil that won't boil down.  Let the mixture boil, stirring occasionally, for about 20 - 30 minutes or until it measures 220F degrees on a candy thermometer.  You can also test if it's ready by placing some jam on a cold plate and chilling it for a few minutes.  If you can push it into a loose ball, it's ready.  Or, if you prefer jam with a more firm set, boil it a little longer - about 5 minutes longer.  Keep testing along the way until you get the set you like.
The one on the left is cooked longer than the one on the right.  The longer it cooks, the darker it gets and the more firm it sets.  Your choice!

Once your mixture is to the stage of firmness you prefer, fill your cleaned and sterilized jars with the mixture and wipe the rims with a clean, wet washcloth to get rid of any spills.  Fill a small bowl with boiling water and add the lids for the jars.  Soaking the lids in the hot water will prime that rubber sealing ring.  Let them sit in the hot water for a minute then drain the water.  Place a lid on the mouth of each jar and secure with a ring.

I processed my bottles of jam in a steam bath for 15 minutes.  You can use a hot water bath canner as well for the same time.  Let cool and listen for the sealing pops!

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