Apricot Citrus Conserve


3 1/2 pounds of apricots
4 cups granulated sugar
2 Meyer lemons, juice & zest
1 large orange, juice & zest
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise or vanilla bean paste equivalent
9 ounces Mariani Mediterranean Dried Apricots
9 ounces of a good Gewurztraminer wine


Ron West submitted this recipe to the California State Fair and won 1st Prize in the Jam & Jelly Category.

1. Rinse the apricots. Leave the skins on the apricots. If the fruit is small, cut into quarters. If the fruit is larger, cut it into eights. Discard the pit.
2. Combine the apricots, sugar, citrus zests & juices and vanilla beans in a bowl. Make sure to slice the vanilla bean lengthwise to make sure the paste can escape.
3. Refrigerate and let macerate for an hour. Make sure the mixture fully covers the apricots.
4. Pour the contents of the bowl into a non-reactive pan and bring to a simmer. Let the mixture cool, and then put in a gallon size plastic bag. Remove all of the air; otherwise the fruit that is exposed to air may turn brown. Refrigerate the mixture overnight. Turn the bags over whenever you think about it.
5. Cut the dried apricots into slices that are about 1/8-inch wide. Put them in a bowl and cover with the wine. Refrigerate overnight.
6. The next day, pour the fresh apricot mixture into a sieve. Put the collected syrup and vanilla beans in a large saucepan and bring it to a gentle simmer. (Return the apricots to the refrigerator.)
7. Skim as much foam off the mixture as possible while it is simmering. Continue the gentle simmer until is has reduced down about half or it has a thicker consistency. Then bring your mixture to a boil for about 5 minutes or until it reaches 221 degrees.
8. Add the rehydrated apricots and the apricot pieces to the syrup. Return to a boil for about ten minutes, stirring gently and skimming, if necessary.
9. Process the jam using your method of choice. If you’re using a water bath method, process for 10 minutes.

Makes about 8 cups.