Sunday, January 15, 2006
Apricot Jam, Argentina Style
Here's the first of my posts about my wonderful stay in Argentina. I ate and saw so many delicious things, I'm just going to go in chronological order to present them all.
The day after arriving at my aunt's ranch, a half an hour outside of Argentina's second largest city, Cordoba, I went for a walk to strech my flight cramped legs. I stumbled upon an old orchard of apricot trees growing by a pond. Right now it's summer there, and the apricots were just beginning to ripen. I managed to pick about 2 kilos, enough to make a big pot of jam. Serendipitously, I had brought with me (as airplane reading material) Jeffery Steingarten's book, "The Man Who Ate Everything" (an excellent and highly entertaining read) and one of the recipes in it is for apricot conserves. I didn't use quite as much sugar as the recipe called for, but I really liked the technique of carmelizing the sugar and adding the apricots in two parts, keeping the second addition more intact. I also didn't bother with canning the jam, as there were so many people there we went through it fairly quickly. This is my slightly ammended recipe:
4.5 lbs ripe apricots, halved and pitted
3 1/4 c sugar
1/4 c water
2 Tbs lemon juice
Put half the sugar and the water in a large sauté pan over high heat. Cook, stirring often, until the sugar reaches the thread stage (230 F.) Add half the apricots and cook, stirring constantly until the fruit starts to get mushy. Add the rest of the sugar and stir until it dissolves, then add the rest of the apricots and cook until they start to get mushy, but before they begin to break down. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Put in jars (it should yield about 4 1/2 pints) and use it soon, or can it.
Summer's bounty on display at a fruit vendor's cart in downtown Cordoba