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I’m a pastry chef working in a local bakery near my home.  We produce a line of viennoiserie, scones, muffins, cookies as well as American style butter cakes, eclairs, cream puffs, macaron and tarts. I have a great boss as she lets me design pastry as well as produce her menu. At the moment I’m exploring tarts, eclairs, macarons and verrines to express my love of all things sweet, salty, sour, creamy and crunchy.   At home, I post recipes to a blog that I share with my son, when I have the time.  I’ve been making preserves and marmalades for about 10 years or so.  It’s a great passion of mine and it keeps me busy during the summer and winter. 

 

I’m always looking for ways to improve my knowledge and my skills.  I’m so happy to be part of this group, which is a treasure trove of information.  I originally discovered  this group when I returned from Biarritz where I tasted and became completely smitten with canelle. 

When I googled “ canelle” I came across the endless thread on this forum about canelle and those pesky white butts that plague so many devotees. I knew I had found my peeps. 

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Welcome.  You will fit right in as there are many, many members who like to experiment with various pastries, cookies, cakes, tarts and there have been some interesting discussions about macarons.

I seem to recall a lively discussion in "Preserving Summer" with many references to Mes Confitures by Christine Ferber. 

and in the thread  "Jams, Jellies, Preserves, Fruit Spreads, Butters"

I am too old and infirm to do much now but I did some catering in the '80s and '90s. 

I spent a few years in the late '70s and early '80s developing a method of making crystalized ginger in large batches from large, mature rhizomes because the commercial stuff was expensive and often little pieces. 

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Thank you for the warm welcome!

 

I taught my self to make preserves with “ Mes Confitures”.  I am also fortunate to be living near one of the best preservers in the states: Elizabeth Madden of Rare Bird Preserves. I’ve taken many of her classes. She has a talent for combining herbs, alcohol and other things with fruit: Rosemary/ Meyer Lemon; Fig/Earl Gray; Peach Lavender; Gin/Blueberry and Grapefruit/Honey are among my favorites. She also does some lovely curds like passion fruit, lemon and blackberry.  

 

Now that I’m back at work I have a bit less time to make preserves but apricots are just coming into season right now so I’m off to the farmers market this Saturday to buy a few kilos. I’ll be doing Apricot/Vanilla; Apricot/Orange/Honey and Apricot/Ginger if I can score some good fruit. Midwest farmers lost a lot of fruit and trees to the thaw/freeze cycles we had. 

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It does look as though you'll fit right in here! Welcome!

 

Andiesenji, with her prodigious memory, brought up a couple of topics that you may or may not already have seen. I'm providing links here to make it easier for readers:

Preserving Summer

Jams, Jellies, Preserves, Fruit Spreads, Butters

 

If you have any questions about navigating the forums, feel free to PM a host or ask in the Moderation and Policy Discussion forum. Meanwhile, I hope you're able to score good fruit this weekend. I am particularly interested in and curious about the apricots. I, like several transplanted Californians here, lament the delectable Blenheims that have been demoted to being backyard pet trees. If there's good fruit to score, feel free to show it off in the 2019 Farmers Markets topic.


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I have only ever found Blenheims dried at Trader Joe’s. You can rehydrate them and make a lovely preserve. I did it once successfully and put the recipe on my Blackberry which subsequently locked itself. Last time I checked it would cost $1,200. to unlock it. A bit pricey.

 

My recollection is that after hydration, I treated them like fresh apricots, adding about 75% sugar, 4% lemon juice and a pectin bag with the juices lemon remains and some extra seeds (which I collect throughout the year and freeze).  So for a kilo of rehydrates apricots id use between 750 -800 grams of superfine sugar and 40 grams of fresh lemon juice. 

 

The preserves I can make with Midwest apricots will never compare with fresh Blenheims or those one finds in Provence but still, a very good jam. California apricots that are shipped to the Midwest are generally not good. Still, one year I found an awesome batch and made some lovely preserves. Go figure. As I recall the were packaged like eggs so they could be shipped ripe. Sigh, I guess that’s to expensive to sustain. 

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My apricot tree, which used to bear heavily but is now elderly and as it blooms early, often the blooms are lost to hard freezes here in the high desert.

No fruit this year. Last year had a few.15 years ago it bore huge amounts of fruit.

It is the "Moorpark" heirloom, large very sweet fruit usually with a rosy "blush" and is great for eating out of hand, for cooking, baking, drying and made the best apricot preserves I ever made. When I lived down below in the San Fernando Valley, I had a Blenheim and a Katy, which produce fruit very early, I would usually start picking Memorial Day weekend and as half the tree was grafted, that side ripened a bit later, finishing just at the Blenheim began maturing. 

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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