Is it all just about money? When I think of the complains of the Northern Europeans, - yes!They even don't know: Here in southern France its at this time of the year 30 to 40 degrees. Hot. Heat is the same as cold and makes working harder. So, its not a bout laziness. The Greeks have to live with the heat during the summer, just as the Finns with their cold in winter. Both are falling into a sort of "hibernation", so here with us, its like "summer-hibernation". Tourists are coming every year in millions. They want to eat, find their hotel rooms clean, want to have fun and expect good services..., and somehow to a certain degree this also working. Why else are they coming?Well this has nothing to do with apricot jam, but as we all know, we learn with age. And, I've just learned how exhausting physical labor can in the heat.
This year is good for farming here. Perfect, - the frequent rains have led the fruit trees to be so full of their fruits. Few days ago, no excuse did help anymore: I had to harvest the apricots! In the morning at 6:00 clock, because it is still cool. From 12:00 the temperature reaches easily 35°, even more! The branches of my 3 trees were so full that the branches were bending under the weight of their fruits. It took 3 days to harvest all this little orange fruits. During the seemingly endless picking I also understood for the first time why some people make brandy & distilled liquors out of this. Sometimes nature is giving too much. Anyway, I ended up with over 100 kilo apricots. But harvesting is just the smaller part of the work. It goes on.
Then actually, the real work begins it goes on like this:
First you must organize lots of glasses and put them hot water because later is too late, there is no time for it. After all the cooking you have to be fast.
You first start with carving the apricots crosswise and put them shortly into boiling water if you want to remove their skin. To remove the skin they must be be then quenched with cold water.
Next, cut them in the middle. Put the stone of the fruit aside so you can break them later with a nutcracker. Test their taste: if their taste is sweet like almonds, the seeds are good! You will need approximately 10-15 stones per kilo of apricots.
Next you have to rub the rind of one lemon per kilo of apricots. Then you squeeze the lemon, chop all into little pieces and give everything, even the lemon seeds to the apricots. (I prefer to cut the lemon into slices and add them like that.
If you don't want fruit pieces you can smash/puree all with one of this electric beater/mixer. Be careful, this tolls are dangerous!
And then of course sugar! Its up to your taste, but approximately up to 500 grams per kilo of apricots will be sweet enough! I like a little pepper (leave whole grains) and cloves, all in a small bag and cook it with all the other things. But thats a matter of taste.
Just do not forget the vanilla, - real vanilla! Not such chemical flavor stuff were you don't know, if you get cancer from it. Only real vanilla is giving this nice "round" flavor.
Now its getting sporty: well think about rowing: Stir and stir and stir this mush. It must cook. Bubble. Everything needs to bubble up. Don't worry its looking a bit like the inner circle of a volcano or like tar for the tarmac, just orange. You must stir well, for 30 minutes. If you don't stir this stuff will ruin your whole pot. With all this sugar it boils solid on the button of your pot. You never get this off. While the bubbles are are getting stronger and stronger you will find yourself exposed to the dangers of the splashes popping up from this hot mush. Once the mush has been burning some nice blisters in you hands, you can stop rowing. That's it. You're done.
Just distribute now everything nicely into glasses and take care the mush is very hot! You can use any glass, simply screw the metal lid very tight. Store it on the head (put the glass upside-down). Leave it to rest for at least 10 hours until it has cooled down nicely and then store it in a cool place. That's a nice gift for your summer guests from the north: when they will return in their cold north so they can then again complain about the lazy South-Europeans.
Ok, if all this seems too much work, just take a blender and make a puree, fill it in jars, put a stick into it and everything in deep-freezer. The next day the children will enjoy an ice-cream.
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