(Alternate title: How to Process 31 lbs of Fresh Apricots in a 20 Square Foot Kitchen in 5 Days).
Last weekend, I signed up at the last minute for an apricot pick with Not Far From the Tree, a fruit sharing project run by some pretty fantastic people. They partner with local tree owners to pick and distribute fresh fruit between those owners, food banks/charitable meal providers, and their volunteers. Check them out at Not Far From the Tree and, if you’re inclined, volunteer, donate or sign up your tree!
There is nothing like spending a sunny afternoon up in an apricot tree, breathing in the sweet aroma and tucking away those plump orange fruits into my bag (and, I’ll admit, one or two into my mouth). After we’d picked 250 lbs (!!!) and divvied up the shares, I shuffled back home, laden with my 31 lbs of apricots. Four large bowls and most of my counter space were not sufficient to contain it all. Hmmmmm.
I knew I didn’t have enough room in my freezer or my cupboards for everything, so I had to split the haul between both (plus some ready-to-eat recipes!). Here’s what I made:
1. Apricot Crisps
I made four of these in three days, and with some help from friends, we’re just finishing the last one today. They are so easy to make and, as long as the fruit is ripe and fresh, taste amazing. I’m a traditionalist, and like them a little warmed up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top; my husband prefers the slightly healthier topping of yoghurt/honey/vanilla (pictured below).
- 4-5 cups apricots (halved or quartered, pitted)
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1 T – 1/2 C cup brown sugar (depending on the sweetness of the fruit and personal preference; I used 1 T because I like the apricots to retain some tartness)
- 1/4 t lemon juice
- 1 T flour
- 1/4 t nutmeg (freshly ground if possible)
- 1 C oats (I used organic, gluten free)
- 1/2 C flour (I used sprouted whole wheat)
- pinch salt
- 1 T – 1/2 C brown sugar (again, use your discretion as above; I used 1 heaping T)
- 1/2 C coconut oil (or butter)
- 1/4 t nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine the apricots with the rest of the filling ingredients and stir to combine.
- Combine the oats, flour, salt, sugar and nutmeg. Then slowly add the coconut oil, stirring constantly. (I like to do this step in a food processor, but it’s not necessary). Make sure the oat mixture is fully coated with oil (if not, add more).
- In a greased 8″ x 8″ pyrex dish, add the filling and smooth out. Then spread the topping evenly. Bake uncovered for 40-50 minutes. If you like your top extra crispy like I do, put oven on broil for 1-2 minutes, watching carefully so it does not burn!
- Cool for at least 10-15 minutes before enjoying.
2. Apricot-Brandy Preserves
On Tuesday, I canned a few jars of this very adult dessert – it’s full of warm spices and booze, and I am imagining that it will hit the spot later this year when the snow starts falling. I modified the recipe from Waitrose here. I took the sugar way down (to just 30g per batch) and I also used less brandy (about 150ml) since I found the flavour too strong in the recipe. I canned the jars in a water bath canner. (I will post about canning at some point, but I always suggest consulting an authority like Pick Your Own or Bernardin Home Canning if you’re not familiar with the process. Safety first, people)
3. Apricot-Coconut Sorbet
I put away a big zip-lock freezer bag of pitted and halved apricots, and I have been using them to make this healthy (no added sugar!) and delicious sorbet from one of my favourite blogs, Oh She Glows.
4. Apricot-Ginger Jam
You didn’t think I’d forget to make jam, did you? Well technically, as I’m sure the connoisseurs will know, it’s not jam because I didn’t use any added pectin or heaps of sugar to make it. However, even though it’s a little runnier in consistency than a traditional “set” jam, the chunkiness of the halved apricots makes up the difference, I think. The ginger gives this jam a distinctive zing, making it perfect on buttered toast, or even on top of brie or another soft cheese.
- 6 C apricots, halved and pitted
- 1/2- 1 T ginger, grated finely
- 1/2 C brown sugar
- 1/4 C honey
- 1 t lemon juice
- 1/4 t nutmeg
- In a wide-bottomed saucepan, simmer the apricots until they start releasing their juices. Then add the ginger, brown sugar, lemon juice and nutmeg.
- Continue cooking for about 25 minutes, stirring often, until the jam is almost the desired consistency you like. Then add in the honey and cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until the jam is just right to your taste. Taste test, and add extra sugar, lemon or spice as needed.
- Freeze or refrigerate jam (up to 2 weeks), or can it (adhering to the safety standards for your region – see my note re: canning above).
And believe it or not, I still have about 3 pounds of ripening apricots left! What should I do with them? What are your favourite apricot recipes?
I’ve shared this post in the blog hops and homestead link-ups below. Check them out!