A loving spoonfulYou may have seen my post on Facebook about the Apricot Spoon Fruit I made yesterday when I promised to post the blog link? When I looked for said blog I found I hadn't actually written one on this particular recipe . . . . this is odd because I have a definite memory of doing this!
However, it is simple enough. The unusual name dates back to a time when diligent housewives in Greece would make delectable sweetmeats called Spoon Fruit to serve to their friends who may come to call socially. Instead of proffering a cup of coffee and a biscuit, a small tray would be placed in front of the guest who would know that everything had been prepared by the lady of the house. There would be a small cup of strong black coffee, a glass of iced water and a spoon fruit on it's decorative silver spoon, resting on a saucer. It was just a sweet mouthful but plenty to restore spirits and for the guest to know that she was being revered. What a charming custom.
The fruits may have been plums or cherries, or, as in this case, apricots.
I had three large jars to fill so used seven apricots per jar - there were quite large fruits. I had halved and stoned them and packed them into the jars quite tightly. I tucked three pieces of whole vanilla pod down the sides of each jar and laid a sprig of flowering thyme across the top.
The point about the spoon fruits is that they are poached in wine of some kind which generally matches their colour and flavour. I used a 375ml of Beaumes de Venises pudding wine - I emptied it all into a small saucepan and added 50g of caster sugar. Heat this together until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is hot. Divide equally between the three jars - if you don't have quite enough to fill the jars top up with boiling water.
Put the lids onto the jars bit do not do them up tightly. You will need to process the jars in a waterbath for around 30mins - seal the lids when you remove the jars from the pan. Most recipes will suggest poaching the fruit in the wine before putting into the jars but I find just heating them in the waterbath keeps them in better shape. ( For waterbath instructions follow link in red above)
If you don't have visiting friends to impress then eat your Spoon Fruit with good quality vanilla ice-cream or creamy rice pudding as a boozy pud.
If you plan on doing a lot of bottling - and many people are returning to this very important skill - then we have a splendid new piece of kit which makes the water bathing and jar sealing easy.
It's official name is an Electric Steriliser and the one we have listed at the moment is a 27 litre capacity. It will take 14 - yes 14 - stacked 1 litre clip top preserving jars at once making it a very economic way of water bathing in bulk. This is not a pressure canner so don't confuse the two however it does come with processing times for some soups and meat dishes.
When not being used for your preserving it makes a very good urn for drinks or soup, mulled wine - anything liquid that you want to heat and serve. A convenient tap allows for easy filling of bottles or dispensing of drinks - or emptying at the end of a processing session.
The totally fabulous Tom Press Steriliser available from Lovejars