Summertime is for reveling in the heavenly flavors of ripe summer fruit, is it not? Truly, there's nothing so delicious as a peach in August, or a fresh melon on any hot afternoon!
This recipe is one of my all-time summer favorites. Last year, I shared my recipe for Classic Cherry Clafouti, and I would be hard-pressed to choose a favorite between the two. However, perhaps this Apricot Preserves recipe has an advantage because we will still be enjoying these summer flavors in late October, when we're bundled in wool sweaters and lighting the wood stove each morning. Who doesn't need a little golden cheer in those increasingly dark days?
Based on the traditional French method of making apricot preserves and apricot butter, this recipe is one I look forward to making each summer. I hope you enjoy it as thoroughly and delightedly as I do.
Happy late summer!
This is an old French recipe and embodies the best of French country cooking — simple and flavorful. By keeping the pits in the recipe, the flavor of the apricots is deepened and just a touch of almond is imparted.
- 3 pounds apricots
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups honey
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup almonds
Makes approximately 6 cups.
Wash the apricots, then cut them open and remove the pits, but do not discard them. Coarsely chop the apricots and set them aside. Take three pits and crack them open by laying the long side of a large knife against each one and smashing it with your hand. Take out the almond-like nut inside and then coarsely chop them along with the almonds and wrap altogether in one thin layer of cheesecloth, tying the little packet securely.
In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the water and honey to a full, rolling boil over medium-high heat. Add in the apricots, lemon juice, and nuts, and continue to cook uncovered at a heavy simmer until the apricots are very soft and the mixture is syrupy. This should take about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to be sure the mixture isn’t sticking to the bottom and skim off any foam that forms on the top.
Test the doneness of the preserves by spooning a bit of the syrup onto a cold plate. If it gels, it’s done. Remove from the heat and spoon into jars, discarding the pouch of nuts. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
Note that this recipe does not safely can due to the honey.
Makes approximately 3 or 4 cups. (This depends on how long you let it reduce.)
Follow the instructions above, reducing the heat slightly as the mixture thickens, and continue to let the mixture simmer until very thick (about 1 hour total). Stir frequently to keep it from sticking or burning. Scrape the apricot mixture into a food processor and let cool slightly, then purée until very smooth. Transfer the apricot butter to jars and let cool completely. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
Enjoy! What do you love to make with apricots?
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