Friday, August 19, 2005

Homemade Apricot Butter

I love making different kinds of jellies, jams, butters, conserves, marmalades and preserves at home. In California, I used to make sesame fig jam every July using the fruit from Gabe's fig tree in our backyard. Last summer I made spicy peach butter from some deliciously sweet peaches I had bought at Greenmarket.

This time I was in a mood for a tangy and sweet butter to serve on a cracker with cheese so I bought lots of apricots from the market and got to work. Making fruit butter at home is as simple as washing and cutting the fruit, adding sugar, lemon juice and being patient till the mixture reaches the right consistency. Just don't mess with the proportion of fruit, sugar and lemon juice. Though the recipes tell you to process your jars in a boiling-water canner, I've always skipped that step. It's not necessary if you're going to consume in a month or two.

24 medium apricots
3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 to 1 teaspoon each ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon

To prepare pulp:
Wash and stem apricots; cut in halves; pit. Cook apricots until soft, adding only enough water to prevent sticking (about 1/2 cup). Press through a sieve or food mill. Measure 11/2 quarts apricot pulp.

To prepare butter:
Combine apricot pulp and sugar. Cook until thick enough to round up on a spoon. As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Add lemon juice. Ladle the hot butter into jars.

Having a few different homemade jams and butters at home is so handy. They're so much more satisfying than readymade ones and add a real special touch to dishes.


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