I would have written sooner but I’ve been canning. The apricots are here and it’s game on.
Due to an amazing turn of weather this spring, fruit trees all over town actually escaped a late frost and managed to set fruit. It has been several years since this miracle happened last and right now I see piles of apricots lying in the street all over the place. It practically makes me want to weep. Pick your fruit, people! Someone, somewhere will appreciate it not only because it is delicious but also because you can avoid attracting vermin to your neighborhood in search of rotting sweets.
So we laid in a few flats of canning jars and bags of sugar, pulled out the baskets and got a mighty pile of apricots from a few different sources. Unfortunately, that week of awesome fruit coincided with a massive, mind bending, bad mood making heat wave that warmed up the house, caused several cases of road rage and turned our apricot stash to mush rather quickly. This led to a four day preserve-a-thon. We helped friends turned pounds and pounds in to jam and learned a valuable lesson: don’t double the recipe; one batch at a time even if it is annoying.
Then we went home and made our own jam one night (four pints), apricot butter the next night (jam that has been pureed, vanilla added, and cooked down a bit more), apricots in marsala syrup the night after that (fruit was a little mushy by this point so it wasn’t as gorgeous as I had pictured), and pureed the salvageable remains and froze them. I can’t tell you how happy I was to reach that fifth night and just get to eat dinner without the thought of boiling water and cooking fruit hanging over my head. More apricots came over the weekend and I spent a lot of time trimming and then turning then in to a juicy apricot cherry crisp. It’s been days since I’ve eaten a whole plain apricot.
Now I have my eye on other fruit trees around the neighborhood. It is an amazing boffo fruit year. Hopefully if I ask nicely, the neighbors will be happy to have me take a bowlful. It makes the neighborhood look like the Garden of Eden with fruitfulness everywhere. I still have jars to fill and sugar to use and the heat has broken for a few days so I will be back to the kitchen soon. And then in the dead of winter when we pop open a jar of jam it will all be worth it.