Flavor of the Week: Apricots
The season for apricots is upon us. I’ve always loved it’s tartness and intensity in flavor and perfume and usually seize up the opportunity to use apricots galore when the season is here. Apricots are amazing in the sense that they really do go well with most other flavors, including savory flavors and meat. Besides all the wonderful cakes and pies they can be used in, there are also great alternatives such as preserving. One of my favorites of course, with seasonals is making flavor-infused vodka such as with the Meyer Lemon entry I posted a while ago. However, I do love making homemade jams and confitures, although the preferred choice for my own use is preserving them in syrup, very much like the canned peaches you find in the store, only with apricots. Once you have this around, you can pop them in almost anything.
*Make sure apricots are the correct ripeness. Under-ripe and they don’t have nearly as much flavor, overripe and you get a mushy mess with a skin that doesn’t want to come off.
Apricots, just ripe
Lemon juice (optional)
Wash and sterilize glass preserving jars in boiling water. Let cool.
Wash apricots and lightly score X’s into the bottom. Bring water to boiling in a pan. Submerge apricots for 10 seconds (make sure not longer). Shock them in cold water or ice water. Remove skins, slice in half and remove pits. Place apricots in jars. Don’t overcrowd. Pour lemon juice on fruit is using
Bring 2 parts water and 1 part sugar to a simmer or until sugar is melted. You can use 3 parts water and 1 part sugar, depending on how sweet or sour your apricots are. Pour the hot syrup over the apricots. Tap the jars a bit to get out any air bubbles. Wipe the rims clean. Leave about 1/2 inch space from the lid. Screw on lids and process in water bath (alternately place a rack in a large pot and boil water, submerge jars for 25-30 minutes). Don’t overcrowd the pot with jars. Cool on a rack.
Voila! Home-canned apricots. If you want to get fancy, you can add things like orange or lemon peels, star anise, cloves or cinnamon. Use your imagination! They’re great on tart shells filled with pastry cream, in parfaits and trifles, on pancakes and toast, in yogurt or on top of your vanilla ice cream.