I was visiting my friends Krishna and Paulomi at their home in the greater LA area. Like many Californians, they too have a number of profusely productive fruit trees in their yard, including an apricot tree that was brimming with over ripe fruit. I couldn’t pass up the chance. The fruit was so ripe and many of them were past the usable stage. With the help of my daughter, I was able to get some fifty or so usable fruit. There were some overripe mangoes sitting on the counter. I decided to include them as well. I needed to add a bit of tart so in went the raspberries from the refrigerator.
Thankfully, the preserves turned out well and Paulomi suggests I should change professions. I trust she means I should become a professional cook and not that I should hang up my apron for good. I hope…
Apricot and Mango preserves
small ripe apricots pitted and halved – 50
Ripe mango peeled and diced – 3
raspberries – 1/2 pint
unrefined sugar – 4 cups
saffron – 1 pinch
cardomom – 1 clove
I use roughly equal quantities of unrefined raw sugar and the fruit.
If I wash the fruit, I pat it dry to minimise moisture in the pot.
Use a large heavy bottomed pan and stir gently and often till the foam subsides and the preserved thicken and com off the sides of the pot in a toothpaste like consistency.
Clean and slice the apricots in half and remove the stones.
Clean and slice the mango cheeks. Then score and scoop the flesh into 1 inch cubes and discard the peel.
Peel and squeeze the pulp and juice from the seeds into the pot and discard the seed
Add the sugar, cardamom and saffron into a large and heavy pan and bring to a boil.
lower the heat as the froth forms on the top and stir occasionally.
Stir more frequently as the mixture thickens so it doesn’t burn or catch at the bottom of the pan.
When it starts to come off the side of the pan like a halwa or kesari or sourdough consistency, remove from heat.
Stre in clean dry containers after it cools and thicken some more.
Refrigerate and use within a few weeks
Note: I don’t use white sugar or pectin when I make jam or preserves. It seems to work out well though it may take some extra time and some elbow grease to stir gently for longer.