APRICOT JAM WITH PEPPERMINT
They say that the apricot came from distant countries to Greece in ancient times. What I do know is that in my village, almost everyone had an apricot tree in their garden.
We had the best and fragrant apricots in Avgo, in a lush valley with waters, vineyards, figs, apricots, pears, mulberries and many gardens of summer vegetables. A blessed paradise as whatever you cultivate grows in abundance. Most important are their quality, their natural smell, their coolness and their sweetness when you put them in your mouth.
When the apricots are ripe they are nutty. I enjoyed collecting them. I sincerely tell you! They have a beautiful rose color and when you reach out your hand to pick them, you feel like you’re touching a baby's skin. It is very tender. And let me tell you the secrets. I put the ladder against the tree carefully, slowly climbing up with the basket, stretching out my hand to each one and if it’s ready, it falls like a gift into your palm. I gently put it in the basket so it wouldn't get damaged and I continued on to the next one. Didn't this collection ritual have a charm? Waiting a whole year for the tree to bring out its new leaves, to bloom, to grow and to mature. And all this life cycle just for you? Is it not a great gift?
These are not just childhood memories but they are also experiences that whether we like it or not follow us throughout our lives. And they are wonderful experiences of another age that will probably never be able to be experienced in their greatness again.
My childhood experiences led me today to find the best way to make the most of it and make a wonderful jam for the whole family. A jam made by my hands, just like my mum made it in our house and we liked it. Is there a kid who doesn't like jam? Is there a child who says, “No, I don't want any.”? A child who doesn’t open the cupboard or refrigerator and extend his hand to the jar? And then what did we do? We all know it. We opened the lid carefully. We checked our mum wasn’t going to catch us red- handed. We put our finger in it and got as much jam as possible and put it straight into our mouths. We did not even take a teaspoon! Didn't we all do this? So we agree, right?!
Let's go enjoy it!
1 kg of apricots (without the stone)
20ml of water
Juice from a lemon
2-3 sprigs of mint
First we wash our apricots very well and remove any black spots. Remove the stones. (Do not throw them away as we have a recipe for liqueur later).
Put the apricots, sugar and water in a saucepan.
Leave over medium heat at first and remove the foams whenever needed. Lower the temperature and cook for about half an hour, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
In the last 3 minutes of cooking, add the lemon juice and mint. To check if the jam is ready, see here. Remove from heat and store in sterile jars. (See here.)
Enjoy this delicious jam with fresh bread.