Monday, February 21, 2011

Apricot Mustard

It's sorta the wrong time of year to be making apricot preserves.
Unless you're like me and have several freezer bags full of them.... then it's always the right time of year to preserve apricots.

I came across this recipe in the Urban Pantry by Amy Pennington; a book I highly recommend for anyone looking for tips on building a thrifty, sustainable and seasonal kitchen.
(If you think I sounded pretty intelligent with that whole "tips on a thrifty....." spiel, I must let you know I stole it off the front cover of the book.)

Because of my copious amounts of apricots I was eager to try this mustard out. I found it to be a little bit sweet and a little bit spicy, sort of honey mustard-like. I mixed it into some cream cheese with some bacon (because we have a lot of bacon around our house these days) for a quick sandwich spread and oh Lordy was it good!

Amy recommends using the mustard as a glaze on roasted meats or alongside cured meat and cheese so I'm definitely going to give that a go next.

Alphabet pretzels and apricot mustard - an obvious match.

Bookmark this recipe and give it a try in the summer when apricots are cheap and abundant.

Apricot Mustard
Makes: 5 half pints
Source: Urban Pantry

2lbs apricots, pitted and peeled
½ cup water

2 ¼ cups sugar
1 lemon, peel grated, halved and juiced (seeds reserved in a muslin bag)

¼ cup brown mustard seeds
1 cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup yellow mustard seeds
1 tbsp ground yellow mustard

1. In a large saucepan combine apricots, sugar, water, lemon juice, grated peel, halves and seed bag. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat, skim any foam as it cooks. Cook until fruit is soft and sugar is dissolved (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat, cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.
2. Meanwhile, use a mortar and pestle to smash brown and yellow mustard seeds into a coarse meal. Put the smashed seeds and ground mustard into a small bowl and cover with vinegar. Set aside, covered on the countertop at least 6 hours or overnight.
3. Prepare jars for canning ie: sterilize jars and lids.
4. Return the saucepan of fruit to the stove and cook over medium heat until thickened and amber in color, about 30 minutes. Stir in the vinegar mustard mixture. Scoop out about 1 cup of the apricot mustard and purée until smooth. Add puréed fruit back to the pot and cook until thick and the mustard is set, 15-30 minutes. Test to see if it has set by putting a small amount on a plate that's been in the freezer at least 15 minutes. Drag your finger through the mustard and if it wrinkles it's done. Discard lemon halves and seed bag.
5. Add the mustard to the prepared jars and gently tap on the counter to release air bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jar and put on lids and rings. Process in a water for 5 minutes to ensure a good seal.

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