Two Delicious Preserves With Apricots And Plums


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After almost ten days of  being sick and stressed I finally managed to pick myself up and get going. Nothing is more therapeutic than cooking/backing something and as summer fruits are in abundance I picked up two of my favorites to indulge in and make preserves.  I find the market products too sweet. I love my preserves a little tart and flavorful. So I picked up fruits which were firm and tart and yet had those delicate flavours.  Some people may find a boiling pot of sugar and fruits a little too much on a hot summer noon but the aroma and the colors of summer captured in a nicely bottled preserve can cheer you up any time.

I have a weakness for apricots and once they cook, the luscious fruit tuns the color of golden summer sun and tastes fantastic. A little hard, a little bruised apricots would do too for this recipe. They need not be perfect. I use a mix of firm and soft ripe fruit to bring out the sweet and tangy flavours.

As for plums , I decided to do a cross between jam and preserve and kept the skin on the fruits. Again picked up some firm and soft mix fruit as I prefer the tart flavour. Discarded the pits for both fruits though some people crack them open and use the kernel. I don’t.

Washed fresh Apricots and Plums

Washed fresh Apricots and Plums

 

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Recipe for Apricot Preserve :

 

Ingredients :

1/2 Kg – Apricots

1 Cup Granulated Sugar (depends on sweetness of the fruits and your liking)

1/2 Cup Water

Juice of lemon – Two table-spoon

Method :

Wash the fruit carefully and rip it open in two halves. Discard the stone.

Take a bowl and place the halves in it.

Add the sugar and mix it well so that it coats the fruit completely .

Keep it covered for an hour or till the sugar dissolve a bit.

Keep a heavy bottom pan on medium flame and add the fruit mixture to it.

Add a little water to cover the fruit and bring it to boil.

Let it boil for one minute on high flame .

Keep stirring so that the mixture doesn’t burn.

Lower the flame and remove any froth or scum that forms on the top.

When the fruit starts to fall apart add juice of lemon.

Keep stirring till the mixture thickens.

Take a set test – Chill a plate in the freezer. Once you think the mixture is thick enough for the preserve consistency drop a teaspoonful on the chilled plate and place it back in the freezer. After a few minutes take it out and check , if a crinkly skin forms on THE preserve when pushed it is done otherwise boil it for another five minutes and text again.

Once done, let it cool to room temperature and then fill it in the jar. Make sure to stir it so that no air gaps are formed.
Seal it when still warm and label it when cooled.

Enjoy this delicious preserve on bagels, toasts, biscuits, parfait or just lick it from the spoon. 🙂

Plum and Apricot Preserve

Plum and Apricot Preserve

Plum Preserve Recipe :

Ingredients :

1/2 Kg Red Plums

1 Cup Granulated Sugar ( according to the sweetness of fruit and your liking)

Lemon zest – 1/2 teaspoon

Lemon Juice – 1 Table spoon

Cinnamon – 1/4 inch stick

Water – 1/2 cup ( just enough to cover the fruit)

Method :

Wash and wipe the plums.
Split them in halves and discard the stone.
Keep the skin on.
In a deep bowl layer fruit and sugar so that the plums are entirely covered.
Keep the fruit for an hour or till the sugar dissolves a bit.
Take a heavy bottom pan and pour the content into the pan along with cinnamon stick and lemon zest.
Stir it on medium flame and bring it to boil.
Let it boil on high flame for a minute or two. Keep stirring to avoid burning.
Lower the flame and let it simmer.
When the fruit softens a bit add lemon juice and remove any scum that forms on the top.
Let the mixture thicken and then do the set test as described in previous recipe.
Once the preserve sets to the right consistency remove it from heat and let it cool at room temperature.
Remove the cinnamon stick and bottle it while still warm.
Label when cool.

Use it on toasts, bagels, biscuits, parfait or in any way you like.

Hope you like these simple recipes. Do let me know your experience  if you make them.

Recipe – Perfect Plum Jelly (No added Pectin)


The season for plum is almost over but I was still craving for those juicy delicious fruits. This time the plum crop that came from Kullu & Manali was rather highly priced all through the season. On Sunday I bought a last batch of mixed plums to make Jelly.  It is always good to mix some unripe fruit along with ripe juicy one to get the right amount of pectin. I never use added pectin for my jams and jellies.

Plums are very rich in Vitamin C, K and A and have lots of dietary fiber. They also contain unique phytonutrients and other good stuff.  They help in absorption of iron in body and hence help to increase blood production.  They help in prevention of breast cancer and stop their growth in the body. They also prevent osteoporosis and muscle cramps and fatigue. Most of all they are super delicious tangy sweet fruits and my favorites.

The fruit contains natural pectin in pits and skin and adding lemon juice helps to make perfect jelly.

Here is my perfected recipe for plum jelly

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Ingredients :  1/2 kg plums ( they should not be damaged and a mix of ripe  dark maroon ones and unripe lighter shades are perfect)

Sugar – I Cup / Cup of plum juice

Fresh lemon juice – 1 table-spoon

Tip- you can add 2 cloves or a small piece of cinnamon stick  while boiling the pulp to spice it up.

Water – as needed

 

Method :

Wash the fruit properly and make cuts in it. Take a pan and press the fruit a bit so that it gets squashed and the skin separates revealing the pulpy pit.

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Add enough water to the pulp to cover it completely  and put on a high flame to boil. Once the mixture comes to a high boil turn the flame to medium and stir a few times. (This is the time to add spices if you wish)

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Once the peels are separated and the fruit is soft  and mushy turn the gas off.

Take a double layer cheese cloth and spread it over a pot with sides hanging out. Pour the fruit mixture into the cheese cloth and tie it properly. Let it stand for at least 3-4 hours or till the juice drip out completely into the bowl. You can use jelly strainer or bags too. squeezing will make the jelly cloudy so refrain from doing so.  If I don’t get any of these I use muslin cloth or small then dish towel also.

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Measure the juice with a measuring cup.

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Now put a heavy bottom stock pot or any other pan on gas stove.  Pour the juice and let it come to a boil on high flame. Stir occasionally so that it doesn’t stick to the pan. Once the juice comes to full boil start adding sugar gradually and stirring till all the sugar is dissolved properly. The proportion is One cup of sugar for one cup of juice but if the fruit is sour you can increase the amount of sugar a bit. Add the lemon juice at this point.

Once all the sugar is dissolve bring the jelly to a full rolling boil.  The boiling of fruit to get the right texture of jelly depends on the natural pectin in fruit and the consistency of the juice. Keep removing the scum which may come at the surface of the boiling mixture.

Once the texture of the juice thickens a bit don’t stir at this point. It is the jellying time. Test it by dipping a spoon  in boiling mixture. Take it off the steam and let the juice slide from the side. If it drops like water you need to boil more but if it falls in two drops joining together you are ready to take the mixture off the gas.

Bottling – Prepare the bottles beforehand ( warm them by placing in hot water ) so you can ladle the jelly in the warm bottles leaving 1/4″ of head space. Make sure there are no air bubbles.

Always keep the bottles on a towel so they don’t break.

Close the lids properly.

Waterbath Canning –  I usually heat water in a large container and place the bottle in hot water for 10 min before taking it out on a towel. Waterbath Canning usually helps in preservation.  I make small amounts which don’t last more than a fortnight so rarely do this procedure but for larger amounts it is a must.

Now your delicious crimson plum jelly is ready to be devoured with waffles, toasts, biscuits or as spread on roties. I simply eat a spoonful when I like.

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As you can see most of it vanished before I could take a proper picture.  I suck at food photography anyway so WTH :p

Who ate the jelly :p ? Your guess is as good as mine 😀

Enjoy homemade spreads with all the goodness of natural fruits and flavors and of course NO preservatives.