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Apricot honey is a type of confiture, or jam, created using fresh apricots. Honey is sometimes, but not always, added as a way of enhancing the sweetness of the jam. Overall preparation time takes as much as ten hours, and cooking time is 30 minutes. Cooks often use apricot honey to complement the flavors of other foods.
Cooking with fruit has long been a staple of European cuisine. Jams and confitures including apricots were primarily developed by French and Spanish culinary experts during the late 1500s. Dishes that included apricots often also included honey, leading to the creation of the modern-day jam.
Apricot honey preparation begins with selecting high-quality, fresh apricots for canning. The best apricots are those that are completely ripe, or even a bit overripe. A cook can easily determine whether the fruit is ripe by the firmness of the flesh. An ripe apricot should have flesh that gives slightly when pressed. Picking directly from the trees when they are in season is a great way to ensure that the apricots chosen will provide a satisfactory result.
After choosing the best apricots for making apricot honey, it is important to thoroughly wash the fruit to remove any pesticide residue. The apricots are then blanched — heated in a pot of water to almost the point of boiling — and then quickly cooled in an ice bath, which is simply a bowl of ice water. This process loosens the skin of the apricot so that removal is easier. Once the skins are removed, the apricots are halved so that the pits can be removed and discarded.
The blanched apricots are mashed together with lemon, sugar, honey, and cinnamon. This mixture is then allowed to sit in a cool, dry place for 10 hours, and then simmered for 30 minutes. Jars to hold the jam are sterilized before usage. After the canning process is complete, the jars of apricot honey can last for up to one year.
Many apricot honey enthusiasts enjoy eating the jam on bread. Others prefer to add butter or other ingredients as an accompaniment. Traditional French cuisine often calls for the addition of apricot honey in dishes featuring pork or poultry. Generally, the jam is added directly on top of the cooking meat. Roasting or broiling are the preferred methods of cooking meat with an apricot honey glaze or topping.