Apricots. Not something I bother much with, usually, but when I wandered into Gosia’s mum’s kitchen today and saw all of these jars lined up I was intrigued.
Earlier in the day Gosia had wandered in from the shop with her mother proudly carrying a carton full of apricots, a few sunflower heads, and bottles of unpasteurised milk. Such randomness appears to be fairly normal here in Poland (as per the huge barrels full of pickled cucumbers I saw a couple of years ago), so I raised an eyebrow but didn’t question it.
“Pasteurised milk tastes so much worse”, Gosia exclaimed. Fair enough – I tried the unpasteurised milk and it did taste great, even if my stomach (still delicate from last night’s drinking session) may disagree with me. The sunflower heads, it turns out, were bought purely for the seeds – I shouldn’t have been surprised, but as a guy who’s only ever bought them in a packet from the supermarket, I still was.
A couple of hours later the reason for all the apricots became apparent when I returned to the kitchen and saw all of these jars lined up on the table. The apricots had been halved and stoned, then stuffed into freshly sterilised jars. Next to them on the table was a pan full of sugar syrup ready to be poured on top.
Preserving fruit in this way is a great way to make summer last longer – you’ll have these delicious apricots well in to the winter months, the sugar syrup enhancing their flavour even further. What’s more, it’s really easy to do.
Recipe: Preserved Apricots in Sugar Syrup
Preserving is a great way of making fruit last well into the winter months. Try these delicious apricots served over ice-cream!
- Apricots, washed
- Start off by sterilising your jars; I find the best way is to wash in soapy water, rinse and then put them in a low oven until they are dry – about 15 minutes should do it.
- Find a heavy bottomed large pan (or “kettle”) and fill with water, deep enough for the jars your are using to sit in (you’ll want the water to finish about an inch away from the lids). Put on the heat and bring to the boil, while getting on with the next step.
- Next make your sugar syrup in a heavy bottomed pan. You’ll need 50/50 water to sugar mix, by volume. Basically if you use a jug of water, use a jug of sugar, too. You’ll need to heat the mixture and stir until dissolved, then simmer for just a couple of minutes.
- While this is happening, cut your fruit in half and remove the pits (or are they stones?). Pack tightly into your sterilised jars.
- Now pour over your sugar syrup, right to the top, and screw on the lids tightly.
- Finally, place your jars in the simmering water, leaving for about 25 minutes. You should hear the lids on the jars clicking as the seal gets sucked in. Remove the jars after this time and leave to cool before storing.
- One last tip; if any jars fail to seal simply eat within a week or so.
As always, this method is open for modification. I think adding some vanilla seeds to the sugar syrup would work great, as would a splash of alcohol such as rum in each jar. You could, of course, use the same method to preserve other fruit such as peaches or plums.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)