I just made a batch of Lavendar Apricot Jam and it is so heavenly--fragrant with both the Lavendar and the home grown apricots--I decided to share my favorite fruit jam recipe with you!
First the lavendar--I got lucky with a French rocket lavendar plant. It was one of three I planted to get full sun on the west side of the walled court yard around our Corrales home. The other two plants perished but this one is big enough to be three plants. It is five feet across and about four feet deep. We cut it way back every year and it happily blossoms in full bloom every year about this time. If you do have lavendar, did you know that placing bouquets of lavendar gives off a very pleasant aroma that yields to a sense of peacefulness and it keeps moths and silver fish off your wool clothing.
I place lavendar in sugar every summer to have for flavoring everything from whipped cream to most any kind of dessert. Some have told me they use lavendar along with lime juice in their margaritas--I have not yet tried that--I just might with our forthcoming week long class.
There are still a few places left in our week long class that is starting this coming Monday, July 16. The classes start each day with a make it yourself Southwestern or Mexican breakfast followed by a lecture on the history of the main ingredients as well as many of the traditional recipes. Also, I give lots of tips and techniques for most all kinds of cooking. You can still register up to Saturday for the class which is now at half price.
I just did a book signing at one of my most favorite bookstores--the Treasure House in Old Town Albuquerque. When signing and talking with people--I kept sharing the comprehensive freezing information in my Freezer cookbook which came out last year as an updated version of my original cookbook. The book literally has the freezing information on most all kinds of foods and is especially great right now for freezing the bounty from the garden and the orchard. Also, I tucked in some of my all time favorite recipes such as the very best Beef Bounignon, Paella Valenciana, French Pastry, yummy breads and so much more. You may purchase a book from my and get it autographed or purchase from most any online or retail book seller.
Following is my favorite Jam Recipe and recipe for freezing peaches.
MY FAVORITE BASIC JAM
I have always loved to make jam or preserves. I began testing different recipes and suggestions and have found the following basic recipe a wonderful guide. You do not need to use pectin if you combine some unripe fruit pieces with the riper fruit. This is great for windfalls where you have to cut the bruised portions off.
Fundamentally you use ¾ cup sugar to each 1 cup of chopped fresh fruit. So you can make any sized quantity. If fruit is very sweet, you can cut back a bit on the sugar and add lemon juice—usually about 1 teaspoon per cup of fruit or to taste.
Yield: 6 to 8, 8 ounce jars of jam
6 cups fresh fruit such as chopped strawberries or peaches
4 ½ cups sugar
- Using a deep, heavy bottomed kettle, place the fruit and sugar in the kettle; and bring to a rapid boil, stirring frequently. When the boil starts to settle down to smaller bubbles and the mixture is visibly thicker and making large bubbles as it boils, test for doneness either with a thermometer or the sheet test. With the thermometer, jams are done when they cook to a temperature of 7 degrees above boiling. For the sheet test, using a large metal spoon, dip the spoon into the mixture and hold vertical to the surface of the jam, tilting the bottom of the spoon back a bit. If the mixture sheets off due to the two drops on either side of the spoon joining together and sheeting off, then it is done. A second test is to use a small white or light colored plate and place some drops on the plate. Tilt vertically and if the mixture slowly rolls down in long droplets, the jam is done. On the other hand if the mixture runs down, it needs more cooking.
- Set the mixture aside and meanwhile place 8, 8 ounce jelly jars upside down in a large pan such as a 9 x 13 cake pan with one inch of water in the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil and allow to boil until jam is ready to place in jars. At least five minutes of boiling is needed to prevent bacteria. Meanwhile, stir the jelly and if it has cooled a bit and the pieces of fruit stay suspended in the mixture, you are ready to jar the jam. To do so, using a canning funnel, place jam in jars to within one inch of the top of the jar. Then, dipping a clean cloth in the hot water, use it to clean out the inside of the jar and rub around the top. Dip the lid in the hot water and place rubber side down on the jar and tighten a jar ring as tight as it will go. Set aside on a clean towel. After a few minutes, double check the jars to make sure the rings are as tight as they can be. Label and store in a dark place and enjoy!
Peaches are a favorite with most people, due to their juicy, luscious flavor. They are very versatile frozen. The best and easiest way to freeze peaches is to freeze them in a dry sugar pack with ascorbic acid, such as Fruit Fresh, available in most food stores.
Select only good quality, ripe peaches for freezing. Rinse and peel them without dipping them in boiling water for the best quality and most attractive frozen fruit.
To freeze, place the sliced peaches in a large shallow bowl or a 1 quart pyrex glass measuring cup. Add 2/3 cup granulated sugar for each quart of peaches and ascorbic acid according to the type being used. Mix the fruit with the sugar until dissolved, working with only one quart of fruit at a time to prevent darkening. Immediately place in a freezer quality plastic bag or a rigid container and label the date and the amount of sugar used.