For a long time I found myself disappointed with the quality of apricots I found at the greenmarkets. I remember desserts of bright orange with vibrant flavor and sweetness. Yet with every (pretty expensive) apricot I bite into, I feel underwhelmed. It was only after I did some research online that I learned those bland apricots I tasted are perfectly right. Apricots are amazing in the way that they are the only fruit that truly comes alive after being cooked. You’ll never get the same satisfaction from a raw apricot as you would a juicy peach but cook them up in a bread pudding or even can them and you’ll be well rewarded for your efforts.
After creating an apricot bread pudding with much success I knew I needed more apricots to survive the winter. I might have mentioned this before, but apricots have become my new favorite stone fruit to put up. Super easy to pit and best of all–no peeling required. 20 pounds later I think I’ve finally gotten peach peeling down, though I certainly wouldn’t mind to eliminate the extra steps.
I contemplated boozy apricots, following the process I used for my bourbon peaches, but decided there is such a thing as too much boozy fruit. I already have bourbon peaches and cherries. Come on, I’m not trying to look like a complete boozer here. I also feel like I’ve done a lot of simple syrup recipes this year. The amount of sugar I’ve gone through in the last few weeks is quite alarming. It was time to switch to something more natural. Honey fit the bill. Thanks to my Flavor Bible, I settled on a combination of honey, ginger and cardamom. With canning you need to be extra cautious in making sure your products have the right acidity level. The addition of dried herbs, like cardamom pods don’t make a difference, but fresh ingredients like ginger do. I came across Canning for a New Generation’s Apricot Halves with Honey and Ginger and modeled my recipe after that, just to be on the safe side. Canning for a New Generation suggests serving their apricots with a panna cotta or flan. On the simpler side, I’m thinking morning yogurt, ice cream sundaes or a simple crisp.
Honeyed Ginger Cardamom Apricots (Adapted from Canning for an New Generation) Makes 4 Pints
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 quart plus 1 1/2 c water
- 2 lbs apricots
- 3/4 c honey
- 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 8 cardamom pods, crushed
In a large bowl mix juice of one lemon and 1 quart of water. This will be your anti-browning solution to maintain the vibrancy of the apricots after they’re canned. Half and pit apricots and drop them in the lemon solution until ready to can.
In a small saucepan, bring honey and 1 1/2 c water to a boil, whisking to make sure honey dissolves completely. Working with hot, sterile pint jars, divide ginger slices between 4 jars and add 2 crushed cardamom pods to each.
Pack jars with apricot halves, cut side down. Apricots should be tightly packed but not crushed. Ladle over hot syrup, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles with a wooden chopstick, apply lids and screw on bands until finger tight. Process in a boiling water bath for 35 minutes.
- Apricot Bread Pudding with Almond Cream (bklynlocavore.com)
- Apricot Cardamom Muffins (collegeandcupcakes.wordpress.com)
- Vanilla Honey Apricot Preserves (bklynlocavore.com)
- Cardamom Apricot Pizza (localkitchener.wordpress.com)
- Nigel Slater’s apricot couscous salad (longlegsbigfeet.wordpress.com)
- Apricot and cardamom jam (thefrugalcook.blogspot.com)
- Apricot Zucchini Bread (pacificcoastharvest.wordpress.com)
It’s so true, apricots totally come alive when cooked. I always thought I was just getting a bad apricot but they were all like that, not juicy, bland in flavor exactly as you said underwhelming. Love this recipe.
Thanks Suzanne. As much as I wish apricots were delicious fresh, it is kind of rewarding to be able to cook something and make it shine. So often we work with fresh produce and worry about destroying it’s natural sweetness or crunch or simplicity.
I remember eating apricots as a little girl and they always seems so juicy and sweet. What’s going on with the apricots today? This is a wonderful recipe to return the “juice” to the “underwhelming” apricot!
I wish I knew! I honestly can’t ever recall a juicy apricot. Sweet yes. Though I’ve also been fortunate enough to eat an apricot fresh off the tree. One day I’ll own a fantastic fruit orchard. In Brooklyn 🙂