The Apricot State
In the roaring 20s and depressed 30s, Santa Clara County was the epicenter of apricot production in California. A few decades later, in the 1960s, the tech boom began to push this orchard production out, making way for what is now Silicon Valley. Delicate, sweet and yet easily bruised and difficult to transport, I feel lucky to live in an apricot-prolific state. California, and San Joaquin Valley specifically, produces the vast majority of apricots in the country. While the ripe, peak, growing season feels relatively short, here is a great recipe for preserving this early summer flavor all year long. I love this sweet and aromatic jam on my toast or waffle for breakfast, but it also pairs well with more savory things – say with a fried egg or on top of pork chops.
Apricot Cardamom Jam
From Ian Marks, Beast and the Hare Restaurant
3 lbs. of apricots, washed and cut in half – pits removed
8 c. sugar
½ c. cold water
1 cinnamon stick
2 Tbsp. ground cardamom
Place all your ingredients in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Bring to a light simmer over medium low heat. Stir occasionally, but not too often, just to make sure nothing sticks to the pot. Meanwhile, place a small plate in the freezer to chill.
Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the mixture appears to have the consistency of a thick jam. After 20 minutes or so, pull the chilled plate from the freezer. Take a small spoon and place a dollop of jam on the plate, smearing it across. Hold the plate up sideways and notice if the jam begins to drip down the plate, or stays firm. If the jam stays firm, you are ready to can, chill or preserve as you like, removing the cinnamon stick before you do. Otherwise, continue to cook, placing plate back in the freezer, and keep testing your jam until it is done. Enjoy!
If you are interested in learning best ways to preserve jam, or would like to learn more secrets of jam making, check out our Gleaning to Jam class on July 28th with Lauren Anderson, founder of Produce to the People.