Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Spiced apricot preserve with rose

It is my first homemade apricot preserve. I never made my own as I had favourite brand since for the very first time I tried it in late eighties. My parents came back from France and brought a jar with them. For me, kid that was familiar with very basic and poorly made preserves available in the shops during the communism, it was like a pure heaven, very exotic too.

I have been buying this brand for a long time but recently I didn't enjoy it so much. Is it producer's fault, or my taste has changed? I don't know. All I know is that I finally decided to make my own apricot preserve. I had a tip from one of Polish mates - he said apricots go well with rose water and spices. It sounded rather unusual to me, but when I got home and checked "The Flavour Thesaurus" by Niki Segnit (where apricots were recommended with rose, cinnamon and cloves) I was totally convinced I should try this.

After I made my first batch I came back to the shop to get some more ripe apricots - luckily they were at the reduced price so I made some more apricot preserve and I will never buy anymore ready made.

Makes 3 jars (each approx. 200ml) 

1 kg ripe apricots, stoned and halved
½ kg caster sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 whole green cardamom, black seeds crushed in the mortar
1 tsp rose water (for culinary use)  

Place the apricot halves in a pan together with a sugar, cover and leave overnight.

Next day add the spices and place on the lowest possible heat. Simmer uncovered for about 2 hours. Turn the heat off and leave it to coll down then cover and leave it overnight.

Next day again simmer on the low heat for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Then turn the heat of and leave overnight covered.

On the third day again simmer for about 2 hours but at this stage you have to be careful and watch it - it catches easily and you don't want to burn it.  Add rose water for last 30 minutes.

When still hot place in sterilized (preferably still hot) jars, seal, turn up side down and place on a baking tray lined with tea towel. Place in the oven at 120 C and turn it off after about 20 minutes. Leave it to cool down completely in closed oven. 

Store in cool, dark place. Not sure how long you can store it, my preserves usually disappear within 3-6 months. 

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