Monday, March 16, 2009

Apricot Dreams

My brother, Pete, has taken to taunting me with his apricot tree. He says this picture was taken in the future, ha ha. They really do make my mouth water, just the very thought.

He's secretly hoping that I'll come down for a visit in late June, exactly when the tree is full on and heavy with ripe fruit. He's going to put me to work, but I don't mind one bit. These apricots taste the way apricots should taste. Once you have eaten them, you'll never resort to those pallid imitations from the grocery store, ever again. Last year was a disappointing harvest...he says that he was lucky to get a handful of apricots. Between a rainy spring, bees missing in action (both causing a lack of pollination), and the squirrels, there wasn't much to go around.

Two years ago, I did go down for such a visit. The evidence is just to the left. The tree had an absolute bumper crop, and I kept Pete hopping. Between trips out to the tree for another boxful, and trips to the grocery store for more jars, or more sugar, he was every bit as busy as I was.

I think we canned 36 jars that day. I brought home a dozen, when we road tripped back to Washington. Not enough! Never enough! I go easy on the sweeteners, so the full glory of the apricot flavor wasn't covered up.

So look out, Pete, I'm coming, and Ramona is coming with me :). I have a host of friends that are already planning get togethers. Don't know how long to make this trip, but I do know that the most important part of it is to have ample canning time.

This year we'll have to find ourselves a proper water bath canner, however. Things are going to go a lot faster if we can process 7 jars at a time instead of only three (we used a vegetable steamer). I found a link for a water bath canner and everything else we would need, right here.

This be the water bath canner. It can hold 7 quart jars at one time, so it's quite large.

And this be the jar lifter. Things would have been so much easier if we'd had this, and they're not expensive. One is included in the kit above, but no need to use this particular company, or get all the stuff. It's all useful, but the two most important things are these.

Mouth-wateringly yours,
PS. Up for another road trip?


Kira said...

After canning boxes of peaches, pears, and even homemade fruit cocktail I now only use either white grape juice or apple juice instead of the syrup. It leaves the fruit flavor intact without adding the sugar and it sounds like the fruit doesn't really need anything more to sweeten it since it comes right off the tree. You might want to try it with a couple jars. Also I recommend the little magnet lid lifter so you don't have to stick your hands in the boiling water to get the heated lids :)
Love Ya

AareneX said...

Ohhhh, I am just drooling at the thought of canned apricots. Certainly they must serve those to people who are newly-admitted to Heaven...after all, it wouldn't actually be Heaven without apricots.