After my experiments with wild cherry plums I turned my attention to the apricot trees, which are also extremely weighed down this year. They are just becoming perfectly ripe, but still hard. I love apricots, they are my favourite summer fruit.
I realise that most of my recipes involve alcohol,
but I'm presently facinated by the possibility of preserving seasonal aromas and tastes in liqueurs, syrups etc. They also make great gifts, which everyone seems to be very happy with. I personally prefer home-made gifts and hand-made cards to expensive store bought stuff.
This recipe is another one that took my fancy from in my 70's "fruit in jars" cook book.
1 and a half kg apricots (not soft)
200g filtered water
250ml dry marsala
1 small lemon (zest without pith and juice)
1 or 2 cloves (crushed)
a pinch of cinammon
(The original recipe is for double this quantity)
Wash and dry the apricots.
Cut them in half and remove the stones.
Heat the sugar and water until the sugar has melted.
Remove from heat and add the lemon zest and juice, cloves, cinammon and marsala. Allow to cool.
Place the apricots in jars. I used two 1 kilo jars, but you could use smaller or bigger, depending on the quantity. Press them down a little, use a wooden spoon to gently push the first ones down.(I didn't and the ones at the bottom are floating, while the top ones are jam-packed).
Fill the jars with the marsala syrup, leaving a space of at least
1 cm from the top border.
Close the jars quite tightly, place in tall pan, cover with water and sterilise for 10 minutes.
(I'm pretty new to canning and I haven't got any special equipment. I used my tallest pasta pan and placed a few sheets of folded newspaper in the bottom of the pan and between the jars to protect them).
Boil for 10 minutes after the water begins boiling and then allow the jars to cool in the water. Use new lids and check they are secure after sterilisation. (No click).
The recipe didn't state how long to wait before using or how long they will last. I think at least a month will improve the flavour and they should keep for a year.
Serve with greek yoghurt, panna cotta or crème fraiche.
Filter and bottle left over syrup to drink as a liqueur, use in cocktails or spice up desserts.