Sorry the picture is a little blurry but I was cross-eyed-tired. I’ve been busy this week! I’m milking goats for a friend on vacation, trying to keep up with the bean harvest and apricots are finally ripe.
There is but one local fruit that I don’t have growing in my yard and it’s apricots. I planted a pear, an almond, two hazelnut, and two peach trees this year. Apricots, however, I just couldn’t find a spot for. So each year I buy boxes of them from Rama farms at the UW market.
I order them during the winter, always too many and then just before they are ripe they email me and ask if I want to replace the eaters with jammers. Since I’m making jam with them I always agree. Then I pick them up, bring them home and realize that 60 pounds of apricots is way too many. So I jam and we eat and I dry and we eat and I freeze and we eat. And then I phone up friends and ask if they can come take the rest away right now because I am done.
I realized this time, too, that I only have one case of half pint jars left and even fewer pint jars left since I always end up giving the jam away over the winter. I now have apricot marmalade in quart jars. I kidded myself that it would be perfect for making barbecue sauce, or ham glaze, or fruit leather and that I would want such large quantities at a time.
The flavor is intense – amazing – surreal – caramelized – condensed goodness, the color is rich and warm and the jars fill fill my heart as well as my pantry. Apricot marmalade was my grandmother’s favorite and has always been mine as well. I can find a million uses for apricot marmalade, from croissants to jam bars to fruit leather to surprise filling for hazelnut-studded chevre balls or to flavor ice cream in the dead of winter.
So now I have two boxes of apricot marmalade, 3 quarts of dried apricot halves and many fond memories of summer finally arrived.
2.5 pounds organic apricots, halved and stones removed
3.75 cups organic sugar
Juice of 1 lemon, or 1/4 cup Rockridge Orchard apple cider vinegar
Combine the apricots, sugar and lemon juice in a heavy bottomed pot. Bring to a boil, watching closely and boil, stirring frequently until your marmalade is as thick as you like. If you stop early you will have apricot sauce which is lovely on pancakes with vanilla ice cream. If you cook it longer you will eventually get a thick jam perfect for spreading on tiny toasts with chevre. You can even take that one step further and spread in layers then dry in the dehydrator so you have a pliable layer of apricot paste, perfect for cutting into cubes like Aplets and Cotlets ™ and to take that one step further you can even dip those in ganache. To can your summer goodness fill sterlized canning jars to within 1/4″ of the top of the jar. Seal and process in a water bath for 10 minutes.