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Monday, June 29, 2009

Apricot Preserves 2009

Last year was the first year that I canned stuff myself. Turns out it's pretty easy. Also, when you do preserves, because the sugar content is so high (sugar is a preservative) you just boil up the lids and screw them on right after you put the fruit in and that's it, none of that boiling for 10 min and then using tongs to pull the jars out nightmare. I'm using a recipe from an old french cookbook that was recently translated in to english -- La Bonne Cuisine. The technique is simple, combine fruit and half it's weight in sugar, let it sit for 24 hours, cook till the fruit is 'translucent', and can it. When I began the blog I included the formal recipe at the bottom of an early post, so I won't repeat it, but it really is as simple as the last sentence suggests. This year I've been using lemon zest instead of lemon juice, adding toasted apricot kernels (toasting them supposedly renders the tiny amount of cyanide in them inert), and using vanilla sugar. Atleast the first batch got vanilla sugar. Here are some pics:
Out of focus, apricots and organic unrefined sugar

Getting ready to cook the first batch, the syrup forms naturally over the 24 hours
Toasted apricot pits. Crack them in a nut cracker.
The second batch, pre-sugar

Thus far this year I've canned 13.5 quarts of preserves. Here's a little nerd activity, note the mammoth R-sq:

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