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Shel_B

Good Quality Apricot Preserves

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Toots makes incredible apricot preserves, and there's usually enough to last us a year.  This past year, however, she didn't make enough for us and for the amount she ended up giving away as gifts, so sadly, there are no apricot preserves until, once again, it's apricot season.

 

I'd like to find an excellent, not-too-sweet, preferably organic, apricot preserve to get me through this dry spell.  It would be great if I could find some that are available in the local markets, but I'd be happy to order on line as well.  Any help would be appreciated.

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I like Bonne Maman. It's not organic but it tastes great, not too sweet. Good texture too, with big chunks of apricot.


Edited by FrogPrincesse (log)
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Does the Bonne Maman have a strong apricot taste? 


Edited by Shel_B (log)

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Thanks to you both ... I know where I can get the product and will try to grab a jar tomorrow.  Will let you know what I think.


Edited by Shel_B (log)

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Would anyone know where to find Agrimontana apricot preserve?  I can do mail order for small jars, but I used to be able to buy large cans many many years ago from a distributor.  This was the best tasting apricot jam I'd ever had, even better than what I made myself!

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I like D'Arbo's rose apricot preserves.  D'Arbo also makes "double fruit" preserves.  Whole Foods & Cost Plus carry the D'arbo products in my area.   http://www.darbo.at/

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I like D'Arbo's rose apricot preserves.  D'Arbo also makes "double fruit" preserves.  Whole Foods & Cost Plus carry the D'arbo products in my area.   http://www.darbo.at/

 

Never heard of that one, but maybe it's available around here .... thanks!

 

Hmmm ... I noticed that it contains 55% fruit whereas the Bonne Maman claims to contain 70% fruit.  I'd think more fruit would be better, yes?  Or do other factors enter into the taste of preserves.  I'm sure the quality of the fruit plays a big role ...  Oh, wait, I see that the double fruit contains "up to" 70% fruit.


Edited by Shel_B (log)

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Thanks to you both ... I know where I can get the product and will try to grab a jar tomorrow.  Will let you know what I think.

 

I bought a jar of the Bonne Maman apricot preserves a while ago, and just had a couple of tastes.  The stuff is terrible.  There's very little apricot taste - mostly what I taste is sugar - and there are hardly any apricot pieces in the jar.  The pieces I found were more like skin in terms of texture and density.

 

The color is dark and looks like the fruit was overcooked - that's the only way I can describe it.  The consistency of the preserves is gummy and, IMO, excessively thick.

 

If this is "one of the best of the commercial products," I don't want to even imagine what a "lesser" product might taste like.  Perhaps I've been spoiled by Toots' preserves, which tastes of apricots, not of fruit having been drowned in sugar, and which has a nice, bright color and a texture more akin to real fruit. 

 

I'll have to try one of the other preserves mentioned here.

 

One plus is that I now have another jar to use when making my own later in the year.

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Interesting. How old is your jar? I (nearly always) have a jar in the fridge and it has an intense apricot flavor, with a nice tartness. It is somewhat thick but not overly so. The color is the color of fresh apricots, not dark. To me it's very close to a homemade product.

Sorry to hear that you did not like it.


Edited by FrogPrincesse (log)

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Interesting. How old is your jar?

 

I don't know how old the jar is, but the expiration date is December, 2015.

 

Turns out that Toots, independently of me, bought a jar as well.  Her feelings are quite similar to mine.  She says that the preserves are the same dark color, too.  She gave her jar to the neighbor ...

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You could also consider making your own preserves from good-quality dried apricots until fresh ones are available. 

 

Here is a LA Times article on Finding the Best Dried Fruit and it has links to a couple of California growers that dry their apricots and sell online:

 

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/oct/28/food/la-fo-marketwatch-20111028


Edited by FauxPas (log)
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Shel - I haven't tried them but I have heard very good things about June Taylor products. You might be interested in her apricot conserves and you might even be able to pick some up locally: http://www.junetaylorjams.com/conserves/conserves.htm

 

The way I understand it, conserves are made with dried fruit, and, that being the case, I've never tried them.  I suspect they'd be quite different than preserves, but they could be something worth trying and enjoying.  June Taylor (The Still Room) is but a short distance from my place, and it seems the conserves are sold at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.  They may well be worth a try - I like what I read about the product.  Thank you for the tip.

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You could also consider making your own preserves from good-quality dried apricots until fresh ones are available. 

 

Here is a LA Times article on Finding the Best Dried Fruit and it has links to a couple of California growers that dry their apricots and sell online:

 

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/oct/28/food/la-fo-marketwatch-20111028

 

Thanks, FauxPas ... I never thought about making my own from dried fruit, but the idea seems to have some merit.  Getting good quality dried apricots shouldn't be too difficult, I'm sure, but from the article you linked, it seems that timing is critical, especially if unsulfured are the choice.  It would be a nice challenge to learn to make conserves ... thanks!

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So if price is no object, then buy a jar of Christine Ferber's apricot preserves:  http://www.borneconfections.com/apricotsbergeronetvanille/bergeronapricotjamwithvanilla.aspx

Or Linn's, made in California:  http://www.linnsfruitbin.com/products/California-Apricot-Preserves.html

 

Price is always a consideration.  The borneconfections are quite spendy, especially when adding shipping, but Linns seems acceptable.  I sent Linns a question and hope to hear from them soon.  Their products seem like they may be a good choice.  Thanks!

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When we were in the US, we used to get the Trappist's preserves and I remember the apricot one being very good.  I grew up on homemade preserves of every type and it took me a long time to get used to the oversweet dead taste of most commercial products.  Trappist always tasted to me closest to fresh. 

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When we were in the US, we used to get the Trappist's preserves and I remember the apricot one being very good.  I grew up on homemade preserves of every type and it took me a long time to get used to the oversweet dead taste of most commercial products.  Trappist always tasted to me closest to fresh. 

 

Until tasting Toots' preserves, I was used to commercial products, and really didn't know what good - what great - homemade preserves could taste like.  This year, Toots has promised to teach me the secret of her apricot preserves.  I believe that she uses less sugar than most recipes call for, and she does something with the pectin, too, but I don't know just what.  The other thing is that she uses great, organic apricots.  She's very fussy about just how ripe they are. And she gets cranky if her lemons aren't just so.

 

I never enjoyed, or even had, apricot preserves until I met Toots.  I always bought stuff like Smuckers strawberry preserves, and I didn't know what I was missing.  Had I tried Bonne Maman before tasting Toots' apricot preserves, I'd have been very happy.  But now there's a new standard by which I judge preserves.

 

That you have addressed the issue of overly sweet preserves suggests that we may have somewhat similar tastes, so the Trappist preserves may be worth a try.  I found them on line, but haven't read much about them yet.  Thanks for the suggestion.

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firstly, that toots sounds like a keeper.

secondly, i second the june taylor suggestion. you may be able to try before you buy at the ferry bldg, to make sure they are up to your now exacting standards.

my preserves palate is less developed than yours. i like the apricot (and especially the cherry) whole fruit preserves available at trader joe's. there is a higher percentage of sweetener than in well-made home preserves, to be sure, but i appreciate the tang of the fruit that lingers after the sweetness. there are chunks. 

i have tried and failed to insert a photo of the jar here. (why is this so hard on eG?) it's one of those octagonal(ish--i did not count the facets) ones, with a black lid and white label with the words "fresh apricots" emblazoned in gold, over an image of an apricot. a banner above that reads "apricot preserves made with"

ymmv, but they are not spendy and readily accessible, so worth a try?  and apricot season is nearly here again...

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my preserves palate is less developed than yours. i like the apricot (and especially the cherry) whole fruit preserves available at trader joe's. there is a higher percentage of sweetener than in well-made home preserves, to be sure, but i appreciate the tang of the fruit that lingers after the sweetness. there are chunks. 

 

I was at TJ's yesterday, and looked at their preserves.  Didn't care too much for the ingredients  and went next door and bought the Bonne Maman.

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Cost and lack of reasonably priced good product drove me and my husband to start making our own marmalade, so I get your frustration. I second June Taylor's jams, but there are also several very good jam makers who sell at various east bay farmers markets that you might want to try, although this time of year apricot may not be an option. And of course you will pay more for artisanal jam than you will for commercial. There are some really great preserves out there. I'm especially fond of Lulu's Garden jams and marmalade, although I'm not sure which markets she frequent these days. Robert somebody sells his at the Saturday Oakland Lakeshore market. Sorry I can't recall his last name!

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Cost and lack of reasonably priced good product drove me and my husband to start making our own marmalade, so I get your frustration. I second June Taylor's jams, but there are also several very good jam makers who sell at various east bay farmers markets that you might want to try, although this time of year apricot may not be an option. And of course you will pay more for artisanal jam than you will for commercial. There are some really great preserves out there. I'm especially fond of Lulu's Garden jams and marmalade, although I'm not sure which markets she frequent these days. Robert somebody sells his at the Saturday Oakland Lakeshore market. Sorry I can't recall his last name!

 

I don't get over to the Lakeshore market very often, so that's pretty much a non-starter for me.  However, I'll see what I can find about Lulu's.  It's probably a good idea to know about some of the resources out there.

 

For now, I've a good amount of choices to look into, but this discussion has motivated me to learn to make my own and not rely on what Toots conjures up.  Thanks for the tips!

 

ETA: Actually, it's Loulou's, and she sells online and at Star Market on Claremont in Oakland as well as at several farmers markets.  Ain't Google swell!


Edited by Shel_B (log)

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