15. August 2010

Week 19/52: It all started with orange

One of my favorite blogs is How About Orange and just the other day, Jessica presented printable jar labels which I could not stop myself from falling in love with. And this is how the story of my first home-made jam starts.

As with all things new, I needed a book. Or at least print out something from the Internet. I am looking forward to the moment when the geek and I decide to have kids. I bet there are books for that, too. How to make a kid. Recipes you REALLY need.

I picked a recipe that included the words "apricots" and "quick" and liked the idea very much.

You need:
1.8 kg ripe apricots, without stones and cut into pieces. They should look like this:

You also need about 125 ml lemon juice. Put both into a pot and cook for about 20-25 minutes until the apricots are very soft.

Add 1.8 kg sugar and don't laugh too hard at the sight of this sugar mountain in the Orange Sea. Your diet is still fine. Now go eat some chocolate. Stir and heat the mixture until the sugar has dissolved completely. If you want to, you can now add 50 g dried cranberries, but I had only raisins which seemed too ordinary to be invited to star in my first jam.

Cook for 15 minutes until the mass thickens. At that point I thought that it would be a great idea to become a bit inventive. I added Amaretto. And this turned out to be a great idea on which I will pride myself for a very long time.

Set aside and let it rest for five minutes.

Pour into warm, sterile glasses and cover with parchment paper. That sounded very poofy to me, so I just overread this part and let the jam cool down. This should look like this:

When everything has cooled down, close the glasses tightly and store them in a dry, cool, dark place to keep the jam from becoming brown. That thought scares me, so I obeyed.

The next morning, cook coffee and try to wake up. Then sit down and have breakfast.

The mug is the geek's by the way and tells of his love of orange in a lovely felt letter. Yes, the R stands for geek. We are weird people. But lovable.
We were overwhelmed by the taste, very amaretto-ish, marzipan, cozy and warm. Apricots and Amaretto coexist without problems, I was so amazed. Can I get married to jam?

I was going to give some of it away, as we cannot eat so much jam before that attack of brownishness. Presents need wrapping and guests dress up before they go to a party, so the glasses had to, too. I used fabric scraps I have because of the newest sewing project - yes, it will start soon - and white ribbon. But the best part are Jessica's jar labels. She has made templates for apricot butter, cherry chutney and strawberry jam, but also offers blank ones. In the end, my jam looked like this:

Pretty, hm?

More jar labels and also recipes can be found at Sweet Preservation, which is all about preserving fruit. They even have an idea for a preservation party - "Canning with friends is a great way to socialize and reduce the up-front investment by sharing supplies." - and even offer a great playlist for it. Funny people they are.

Now go and preserve some food while I dream of myself on the cover of Martha Steward Living.