It's coming...I can almost smell it in the air...The end of Summer is approaching fast guys, and just like every year, I can't believe it's almost over! However, that also means that it is almost time to start preserving, pickling and jamming! So start dusting all the canning jars as they are about to be put into some good use!
And I'm so strangely excited about it! As there is something magical about preparing food in the late summer months, which you know you will enjoy during long, autumn and winter evenings. It makes me feel...homey.
When growing up, late August and September were always filled with tons of fruit and veg from everyone's gardens, from aunties to neighbors, everyone will share their harvest with each other, so it later can be turned into pickles, jams, conserves, or some kind of condiments. And let me tell you, nobody makes better pickles than Eastern Europeans. That is a fact, and there is no discussion about it.
But we are not here to discuss pickles. At least not today, but heads up guys, soon, there will be pickles talk going on here too...However, for now, we will enjoy some more of the summer stone fruits... As you will know by now dear friend, I'm a huge fan of any fruit that have a stone inside, please see exhibit A: poached peaches in sparkling wine, or exhibit B: cherry and chocolate bundt cake. And today, we are going to have a closer look at another one, apricots!
First of all, apricots are beautifully orange or yellow, depending on variety, and have this incredibly soft, velvet- like skin and flesh. As described by many, they are something between peach and plum, in taste and in their looks. In addition to that, they are packed with vitamins and antioxidants. And they are super easy and fun to cook with. Not bad for such a small thing, eyy?
So let's talk about how did I get from having few apricots in my fridge, to having a whole mountain of them in my garage and turning them into this awesome, homemade apricot nectar, shall we?
As I was bargain hunting at my local antique shops, I've came across local farmers market in one of the towns. And who can resist ALL the fruit and veg they have on display? Am I right? So off I go, picking everything that me, and my other half can carry in our hands...
Then, just as we were about to leave, I saw them. Beautiful, bright yellow and orange apricots. There was only one problem. The older gentleman who was at the front of me decided to pick all of them, one by one, leaving me four at the bottom of the crate. Not the happiest of the days, but hey- ho! Better some than none.
However, what can you make with 4 apricots? Maybe a mini pie or galette, but who likes to eat pie or galette in a mini size? So in my case, they were used as toppings on my Belgian waffles. And they couldn't taste any better! But I wanted more! More apricots (and waffles, but this post is all apricots, so let's keep it this way)!
Almost a week later, I was back to the same market, super early, just to avoid disappointment and members of the public, who love apricots just as much as I do. I took two crates. As a result, there was no more apricots on the market. Because I had them all! 🙂
While trying to come up with ideas for what to cook with two crates of apricots (I do get excited about food, can you tell?), I saw this recipe from wonderful and hugely inspiring blog The Kitchen Mccabe and as a result, I ended up with my first, homemade apricot nectar.
Since trying it for the first time, I knew that majority of my apricots will end up being pushed through the sieve. So delicious! And so many different uses! Especially in those fizzy Bellinis 😉 Perhaps, if Bellini is not your thing, you can mix it with some ginger ale or lemonade/ lime soda. It is also delicious over the ice on it's own, or simply mixed with some water.
Let the stocking of the cellar shelves with full jars begin! 😉
Homemade Apricot Nectar
- 10 cups apricots halved and pits removed
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- ½ cup agave nectar
- 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
- 5 cups water
- Place apricots and water in a large saucepan, bring to simmer and reduce heat to medium.
- Let simmer for about 30 minutes or until apricots are really soft and completely broken down.
- Run the mixture through the sieve, pushing the apricots through with the spoon, collecting the puree and liquid in a large bowl.
- Keep pushing it through the sieve until puree stops dripping from the sieve as you stir (you don't want to push too much apricot puree as it will cause nectar to look brownish).
- Add agave syrup, sugar and lemon juice and whisk for a couple of minutes.
- If preserving nectar, pour it into canning jar, and place in a large pan of boiling water, ensuring the whole jar is covered in water and boil for 20 minutes.
- Remove jar from boiling water, let cool, and store for up to 6 months in a dry, cool place.