Garden

Fruit of the season - Apricots

It is difficult to describe the taste of a sun-ripened apricot. It is equally difficult to describe the colour of a ripe apricot, which has inspired so many paint and material swatches. Let us suffice to say that a perfectly grown and ripe apricots sport a warm colour and a taste that will keep even the sourest old plum-face happy! What more can one ask of a home-grown fruit?

 

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If you grew up in an old suburban area with a large backyard and are asked which garden tree you have the fondest memories of, there’s a good chance it will be the apricot tree… Dark and bare in winter, the Apricot trees would suddenly burst out into a tree overflowing with blossom in spring, and almost overnight it would be covered in lush foliage that a few weeks later shaded and protected a mass of marble-sized furry fruit sitting on knobbly spurs. In the following weeks, before harvest time in December and onwards, the old folk would start protecting the yellowing, downy fruit against fruit flies, but primarily against marauding neighbourhood kids.

 

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How to make apricot jam

Home-made apricot jam used to be the saving grace of many families, as it was made and sold for extra income. If you have lots of fruit, cook some yourself.

 

  • Wash the apricots, break them in half and remove the pips.
  • You can peel them thinly if jam of a lighter colour is needed.
  • Use equal weights of fruit and sugar and pack them into layers in a large pot. Allow to stand for a few hours.
  • Heat very slowly and stir until all the sugar has dissolved, then boil for 30 minutes, stirring continuously until the jam has thickened and is a bright colour.
  • Bottle in sterilised jars while still warm.

 

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How to make apricot foam

Have you ever eaten a huge bowl filled with a variety of creamy, fruity and foamy puddings dished up by the motherly ladies at church bazaars, and wondered how they make them? This is what to do with some of your apricot harvest:

 

YOU WILL NEED:

1 cup sugar
2 cups boiling water
12 to 20 ripe apricots
2 dessert spoons gelatine
½ cup boiling water
Whites of 2 eggs
1 cup fresh cream

 

HERE'S HOW:

  • Dissolve the sugar in 2 cups of boiling water and boil for 5 minutes.
  • Halve and de-pip the apricots, add to the water and simmer until soft.
  • Use a wooden spoon to mash the apricots through a sieve. Measure 2 cups of the pulp.
  • Mix the pulp with the gelatine, moisten with 2 dessert spoons of cold water and dissolve with ½ cup of boiling water. Leave to cool down.
  • Whip the cream till thick and the egg whites in a different bowl till stiff. As soon as the fruit mixture starts setting, stir with a fork, add the whipped cream, and gently fold in the egg whites.
  • Dish into pretty glasses and refrigerate to set.
  • Decorate with halved apricots.

 

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