I never liked apricots growing up. That is, until my Grandpa gave me some from his garden. They were a revelation. Ever since, I’ve been keen on his apricots, but I can count the number of times I’ve bought apricots on one hand. When I came to stay at his house, I was sad to see that my favourite apricot tree was bare. It was probably the birds, those damned birds. But I was delighted to discover the apricot tree down below was packed with fruit. They aren’t the sweet soft apricots I like, but they came up beautifully when I tenderly poached them for the merest amount of time. The birds had had a riot with a lot of the fruit, but there was plenty enough for me to bottle some. I may just have enough for the grandkids to have a bottle each!
My grandparents loved honey. They bestowed on me a love for Tasmania’s leatherwood honey which has a distinct and strong flavour. As such, I thought it fitting to bottle Grandpa’s apricots with leatherwood honey, and a little spice to make things nice. These flavours all work wonderfully together. I once poached some apricots like this and served them atop a little stack of fluffy vanilla pancakes with a scoop of fresh ricotta. That was heavenly. These will make excellent dessert apricots served with ice cream. I bet they’d make your morning muesli taste pretty amazing too though!
|1 ½||cups||leatherwood, or your favourite honey|
|additional cinnamon sticks (optional)|
|additional star anise (optional)|
Place the honey, water, cinnamon sticks and star anise to a saucepan. Bring the mixture to the boil, remove any scum from the surface of the pan and turn off the heat. Allow to cool.
Sterilise your bottles and lids as per their instructions. I was reusing old jam jars which can be sterilised in a dishwasher or by placing them in a pot of water and bringing it to the boil for ten minutes. Allow the jars to cool without touching them inside.
Wash your apricots and cut them in half. Discard the pits and cut off any portions of bad fruit.
Pack the jars with apricots. If you place the apricots cut half down, you can pack more into each jar but I wanted to have some of the cut halves facing outward for an attractive appearance. I found it best to do this then fill in any spaces with wedges of apricot I saved from otherwise bad fruit, with the skin facing out.
If you would like to include the additional whole spices arrange them when your jars are half full. These will continue to flavour the apricots during storage.
Pack the jars as tightly as you can, then ladle over the honey syrup. Leave a little room at the top of the jar free from syrup. Tightly screw on the lids and place the bottles in a large saucepan. Cover the bottles with water. Bring the pot to a gently boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Allow the bottles to cool sufficiently to handle and remove them to a bench to cool completely. You should hear the jars ‘ping’ as the air inside cools and creates a vacuum, pulling the lid in towards the jar.
I understand these will keep for six months in a cool dark place. Please correct me if I’m wrong on that.