[Sca-cooks] Uses for fresh apricots???

Stefan li Rous StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
Sat Aug 2 16:43:20 PDT 2008

If you don't want to dry your apricots to preserve them, how about  
making a marmalade from them?

The following is from this Florilegium file in the FOOD-SWEETS section:
marmalades-msg   (104K)  4/30/07    Period marmalades and fruit  
jellies and jams

Note that it also includes directions on peeling apricots which might  
be of use for other recipes as well.


Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 08:04:28 -0500 (CDT)
From: alysk at ix.netcom.com (Elise Fleming)
Subject: SC - Re: Fruit Conserves

Karin wrote:

 >Basically, the fruit seems to have been saturated with sugar, until
 >it attains an almost tough jelly like state ( jelly bean rather than
 >jello ), sometimes it is then shaped into small fruit shapes, other
 >times it still seems to be the basic fruit. The texture is still quite
 >'solid' which seems to me that the fruit hasn't been pureed and
 >reformed, but that it is done by a similar method to candying peel.

I'm not sure about the not-pureeing and then being boiled up like candy
peel.  However, there are a number of fruit pastes which give a "tough
jelly" or a nice paste, depending on one's skill, etc.  Here are two
I've used successfully (sometimes tough, sometimes nice paste,
sometimes it didn't set).  Also, it seems that one can't really
substitute different fruits in certain recipes.  I don't recall the
fruits now (it was a few years back) but the substituted fruit didn't
set up into the paste as the original fruit did.

Sir Kenelm Digby, The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby Opened, 3rd edition,

Sweet-Meats of my Lady Windebanks

She maketh a past of Apricocks (which is both very beautiful and clear,
and tasteth most quick of the fruit) thus.  Take six pound of pared and
sliced Apricocks, put them in a high pot, which stop close, and set it
in a kettle of boiling water, till you perceive the flesh is all become
a uniform pulp; then put it out into your preserving pan or possenet,
and boil it gently till it be grown thick, stirring it carefully all
the while.  Then put two pound of pure Sugar to it, and mingle it well,
and let it boil gently, till you see the matter come to such a
thickness and solidity, that it will not stick to a plate.  Then make
it up into what form you will.  The like you may do with Raspes or

Redaction from 'Banquetting Stuffe' edited by C. Anne Wilson, chapter
4, Rare Conceits and Strange Delightes by Peter Brears.  (Edinburgh
University Press, Edinburgh, 1986, ISBN 0 7486 0103 1)

8 oz (225 g) (when prepared) peeled and stoned apricots
3 oz (75 g) sugar (Alys: 1/2 cup; 1 lb. apricots to 1/3 lb. sugar)

Place the apricots in a heatproof jar, seal the top with a piece of
cooking foil, and stand in a covered saucepan of boiling water for an
hour.  Pour the apricots into a small saucepan and gently boil,
stirring continuously until the paste is extremely thick, then add the
sugar and continue stirring.  When it is so thick that it has to be
spread across the bottom of the pan with a spoon, it may be turned on
to a lightly greased plate, worked into a shallow square block, and
allowed to cool.  It has a deep orange colour, and is every bit as good
today as Sir Kenelm found it three centuries ago.

Alys Katharine's revision:  (1 lb. apricots to 1/3 lb. sugar.   Ten
apricots (2-2 1/2") are slightly under one pound when peeled and

Slice the apricots, place in cooking container (Corningware 1 3/4 quart
pan holds a little over 2 lbs. of apricots).  Seal with foil and rubber
band for extra security.  Place in large pot, or larger Corningware
container.  If you put a lid on the outer container you needn't top it
off with boiling water as quickly.  Add boiling water and set on burner
at simmer for a good two hours.  The apricots should have fallen into a
mush by then.

To peel apricots easily, place them in boiling water for about two
minutes and then remove them.  The skins should peel off easily with a
knife or your fingers.  If you let them stay in the boiling water too
long they begin to cook and get mushy under the skin.  You can also
just slice the apricots without peeling them.  After they have cooked
for two or more hours, puree them in a blender.  It is best to use a
thick pan for cooking the pureed apricots and sugar.  If you simmer
them on a low heat you need not stir them continuously until the
mixture begins to thicken and erupt into "burps."  This "cooking down"
process can take 4 hours or so depending on the amount of apricots you
use and the temperature of the heat.  You will need to stir the mixture
more and more as it gets thicker.  The apricots are done when you can
drag your spoon through the mixture and it leaves a trail.  It should
also be pulling away from the sides of the pan at this time.

While this recipe doesn't call for a sugar syrup, you can make one by
taking an amount of sugar, wetting it enough to dissolve the sugar, and
heating it to hard crack stage.  Add it to the apricots, stirring as
you add it.  Then cook the mixture down over low heat until you can
make a trail with your spoon.  Pour into shallow, buttered pans and
allow to cool.  You can cut them into squares or into shapes using
small cookie or canape cutters.  Store between waxed paper or parchment
paper.   With proper storage they will keep for a year or so.

TO MAKE A PASTE OF PEACHES, #S112, A Booke of Sweetmeats Martha
Washington's Booke of Cookery, transcribed by Karen Hess, Columbia
University Press, New York, 1981, ISBN 0-231-04930-7Take peaches &
boyle them tender, as you did your apricocks, & strayne them.  then
take as much sugar as they weigh & boyle it to candy height.  mix ym
together, & make it up into paste as you doe yr other fruit.  soe dry
them and use it at your pleasure.Peel and slice peaches.  Bring them to
a boil over medium heat in a thick pan.  Cover pan, stirring
occasionally.  Add a little rosewater if desired.  (The previous recipe
for apricots includes rosewater.)  Cook for approximately two or two
and a half hours until they are fully soft and "tender."  I have pureed
them in a blender but that leaves a good deal of water to cook off.
Try pouring off the excess liquid through a sieve or strainer.  Puree
the remaining pulp.  (Save the liquid for other uses.)  Weigh the pulp
and take the same amount in sugar.  (Approximately 2 1/4 cups
granulated sugar equal one pound.)  Gently boil down the pulp until it
is thick.  When the pulp is as thick as it can get and not burn, boil
up the sugar with a small amount of water.  Hess identifies candy
height as soft ball or 220 F.  A modern recipe for fruit paste says to
boil to hard ball or 260 F.  I have found that hard ball or even to
almost hard crack works best.  Pour the sugar syrup into the cooked
pulp and stir until thoroughly mixed.  Continue cooking the paste until
it leaves the side of the pan and you can draw a line in it with the
spoon.  Be careful that it doesn't burn at the final stages, nor that
you burn yourself with splatters of boiling pulp.  Pour it onto a
buttered cookie sheet with sides and let it cool.  If it doesn't
solidify to a paste that you can cut try one of the following.  Let it
sit for several days to dry out.  Put it into a warm oven to dry out.
Scrape it all back into a pan and re-boil to drive off more water.  You
can also make up more sugar syrup, but be sure to go to the hard crack
stage before adding it to the paste.
THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra
    Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas           
StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
**** See Stefan's Florilegium files at:  http://www.florilegium.org ****

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