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Going Ape for Apricot Preserves

Apricot Jam

I’m absolutely crazy for stone fruit. From the moment the first cherries come in, I quiver in anticipation of what’s to follow: sweet-tart plums and pluots, gushingly juicy peaches. I most look forward to the apricots, seductive and demure.

I could eat a bushel of them right out of hand, but apricot jam is my favorite, bar none, so every year I hunker down and make a bunch. Apricots don’t need much; their flavor blooms as you cook them down, but they also take nicely to a little spice. A few peppercorns, some cardamom, perhaps half a stick of cinnamon all bundled into a cheesecloth sachet will leave a subtle undertone to your jam. But if you want to create something special, crack open a few of the apricot pits and toss the kernels into the sachet.

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Your (Not-So) Basic Strawberry Jam Recipe

Strawberry Jam Recipe

PunkberriesThey turn your head. Maybe it’s the flash of lurid red in the corner of your eye as you walk by the booth at the farmer’s market. More likely it’s the intense, candy-like perfume that fills your sinuses. Maybe you weren’t conscious of the triggers, but you suddenly find yourself salivating. Strawberries have a siren song.

So irresistible are they that, I confess, I have found myself mystified upon return home on how, exactly, I managed to purchase two groaningly heavy flats of the beauties. Mmm hmm, like you haven’t.

The problem is that the glorious music that is a perfectly ripe strawberry is fleeting. From the minute you pick them, the berries begin to wither and decay. If you want to capture it, you’d better work fast.

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