Yes, I know it’s the middle of winter and apricots are far from in season. But as it happens my sister in law is fortunate enough to be on a sort of sabbatical in the south of France and she tells me apricots are available in abundance, of course as it is the middle of summer & yes we are allowed to be slightly envious of her chateau type setup in the rural country side. We receive no updates of the relaxed Provencal experience but rather an urgent request on what to do with all these apricots?
So, my dear Sis here is the what to do’s for preserving apricots:
You’ll need : Apricots, Sugar, Water, Jar(s) that close tightly.
Use 1 to 1 sugar to water, so if you are using 1L water, you’ll need 1kg sugar.
Water goes into a saucepan, add the sugar and bring to the boil, dissolve the sugar and let boil & reduce for 30mins. Meanwhile fork your apricots! (you know, poke them with a fork so they can draw the syrup in and their flavour can escape into the syrup).
After 30mins of boiling remove the saucepan from the stove and let cool. The syrup will thicken as it cools. Now add apricots and bring back up to the boil, as soon as it starts to boil remove from heat. Take apricots out of the syrup and pack tightly into jars, really do make sure you cannot get anymore in cause when you add the syrup they all float to the top. Make sure your jars have been sterilised and are squeaky clean. And pack even more apricots into those jars. Now, while the syrup is still hot pour over apricots filling up the jars. Then close tightly and turn upside down – this creates a vacuum. When cool, store in fridge or cool place for a minimum of 2 months. (Our friend Marianna, of Marianna’s Owls Barn country kitchen, makes a similar recipe but somewhere in her process she adds alcohol, think brandy? – her preserved apricots are then known as Boeremeisies. I guess that makes our version the frigid boeremeisie, since its sans spirits!)
Preserved apricots are best eaten with homemade vanilla ice-cream.
When it is Apricot time, we head out to Prince Albert in the karoo for the extra special Royal Apricot, they are big and juicy, a perfect ball of sunshine. But you gotta get there quick as all these treasures, sadly get picked and shipped off to other shores late November – early December.