Monday, August 1, 2011
You know how some people hide money in their mattresses, I'm pretty sure my Dad does that with saffron. There is a running joke in my family that he has a secret bounty worth millions stashed away. He won't tell anyone where it is or how much he has, but whenever we are running low he always seems to have more. I know it is a big time luxury to have a seemingly endless supply of the world's most expensive spice so I try to only use my stash on special occasions and this jam is totally worth it. I usually gravitate towards simple jams, just fruit, sugar, lemon juice and maybe a bit of Pomona's if I am making jelly, but I am trying to step up my jamming this season so I pulled out the big guns. Saffron and rose are a common paring in Middle Eastern desserts so to honor my Pops and his generous, spicy spirit I put them together with some rosy cheeked apricots and made some fancy jam.
Apricot Jam with Saffron and Rose
Inspired by The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook
yield, roughly 2 pints jam
2lbs apricots (weight after removing the pits)
14oz sugar ( I used vanilla sugar, but it's not necessary)
juice of 1 lemon
pinch of saffron threads
1/4t-1t rose water, depending on your taste
1. Dump the pitted apricots and sugar into your canning pot and mash with a potato masher or fork, or your clean hands if you feel like it. Don't worry about making the pieces uniform in size, just mash them well.
2. In a small mortar and pestle combine the saffron threads with a pinch of sugar and grind. The abrasive quality of the sugar will help to break up the saffron. Set this to the side and get jamming.
3. Over medium high heat, bring the apricots and sugar to a boil. The jam will cook very quickly, so stir constantly with a rubber spatula to avoid scorching the bottom. If any foam appears on the surface of your jam just skim it off, I didn't have to do this.
4. After about 10 minutes, check the jam for doneness. It should be thick and will spatter like hot lava, so watch your hands!
5. When done, take the pan off of the heat and stir in the saffron sugar mixture, rose water and lemon juice. Pour into sterilized jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 min.
Hot tip from Food in Jars: just pull the apricots in half with your fingers to remove the pits. Easy!!
Be careful with the rose water, it is VERY strong. No one wants jam that tastes like perfume.
I entered this jam in the Can You Can It? contest over at Garden of Eating, you guys should enter something too!