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I've written a lot in the past few weeks about citrusy marmalades (like blood orange, grapefruit, and Meyer lemon), which are great options for winter preserving. But now I'd like to shift focus and talk about dried fruits. Is it possible to make delicious, fresh-tasting, fruit-forward jams and spreads from dried fruit? Absolutely.
After a recent recipe testing project, I was left with a massive quantity of leftover dried apricots. Usually I toss extra dried fruit into a batch or two of granola, but there's only so much granola a girl can make. I had upwards of three pounds of apricots! I started snooping around for other culinary projects that would use them up.
One of the most appealing recipes I found was for apricot honey butter, from The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving. The combination of apricots, lemon zest, crystallized ginger, and honey sounded heavenly. Plus, the recipe yielded only three half-pint jars--the perfect amount for me and a couple of lucky friends.
I made a few small adjustments to the recipe. First, I used fresh lemon juice instead of bottled. (If you are worried about acid levels, check out this post from preserving expert Linda Ziedrich.) Next, I substituted clover honey for sage, since that's what I had on hand. Finally, I added one tablespoon of no-sugar-needed pectin to help the butter set up a bit. It's entirely optional, but if you like your fruit butters on the firmer side I suggest you use it. Otherwise your butter might be a little loose and saucy.
The combination of apricots and ginger in this butter has me dreaming of cranberry scones, but it would also be delicious on buttermilk biscuits, buttery brioche, or plain old whole wheat toast.
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About the Author: Lucy Baker is a food writer and the author of The Boozy Baker: 75 Recipes for Spirited Sweets. She is currently at work on a second book about homemade food gifts. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and dachshund.
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