This past weekend I purchased an entire flat of apricots from Frecon Farm - time to make preserves - my favorite, apricot.
I decided to make 2 different versions this year: one a jam and the other a butter. Amaretto Apricot Butter, gets a heady almond flavor from the addition of amaretto liquor. And, Apricot Riesling Jam, has flowery notes from the addition of a light, sweet Riesling wine. What's the difference between a jam and a fruit butter?
Jam - made from chopped up fruit cooked with sugar. Often times pectin is added to help it to gel, or firm up. My apricot jam recipe does not have pectin, and is somewhat thin.
- What's Pectin? a polysaccharide found in fruits. Most pectin found commercially is derived from apples. The addition of pectin to jam will shorten the cooking time.
Butter - contrary to the name, butters do not contain butter. Butters are fruit that has been cooked down in a small amount to water and pureed. Sugar is then added and the butter is cooked down further until it thickens.
My butter recipe called for the addition of an apricot kernel to impart a bitterness to the final product. For this the hammer was needed! A sharp crack of the hammer on the edge of the pit, voile, the kernel!
Not bad for a morning jammin' session - these are going to taste like heaven in the dead of winter!
And, while I was waiting for my jam to finish cooking, I pickled a few more jars of the delicious honey pickled fennel from last week! Taste sensation: a grilled cheese sandwich with quality cheddar cheese, stuffed with some of this pickled fennel - yum!