Summer Sunshine

17 Jan 2007

It is so hot and muggy here, we are all wilting. Not a good time to be busy in the kitchen but I have been up to my elbows in a sweet, sticky mess . We have had a bumper crop of apricots this year. We have eaten as many as we can and now they have to be dealt with or they are going to go to waste.

First thing this morning I started chopping and weighing preparing to make Apricot Chutney. I was given this recipe more than twenty years ago by a work mate. The recipe had been handed down to her from her Gran and I have handed it on to everyone who has asked for it. This is a delicious recipe and considering its age has quite a modern flavour.

I generally make it every second year and give it as Christmas presents because it is wonderful with the Christmas ham. My favourite way to have some is with ham on some crisp toast for my Christmas breakfast.

This is a very forgiving recipe. You can use white or brown vinegar or both, whatever you have; you can use white or brown sugar or both, whatever; you can use fresh garlic or garlic powder or bottled garlic, fresh chillies or dried. Believe me , I've done them all. When you have a glut of apricots to deal with you just have to raid the pantry.

I keep any jars that come into the house and recycle them for chutney, relish and jam making. I don't bother with pretty cloth tops , they just get in the way. Whenever possible I use the original lids rather then cellophane because I find them more practical. The jars get very dusty on the top shelf in the pantry so they have to be washed and sterilised bfore I can use them. I wash and rinse in hot water and then put them in a 100C oven for 20 minutes. I don't bother to sterilise the lids, I just wash them thoroughly.

Apricot Chutney

1.5kg stoned and sliced apricots
1.25kg sugar
1.2 l vinegar
500g sultanas
90g chopped garlic
15g (9 tspns) ground ginger
1 tspn cayenne pepper
1 tspn salt
about 6 chillies
tspn = teaspoon

Boil all ingredients until thick - about 1 hour.
Cool a little then bottle.

Leave to mature for at least two weeks.
Can be used as paint stripper after three years. ( That's a joke but it does get pretty strong after about three years)

I love the colour of this chutney and I always feel happy when I make it because it will wait there on the pantry shelf and when next Christmas comes around it will be ready for me. Yum!

I got nine large jam jars of chutney from this batch and there are enough apricots for another couple of batches.

After dinner this evening I weghed and chopped up another kilo of apricots and made some jam. I used my mum's recipe because she makes the very best apricot jam.

Mum's Apricot Jam

1 lb apricots, stoned and sliced

1 lb sugar

a little water.

Cook apricots over a low to medium heat with a little water until fruit is soft and losing shape and the colour is intense.
Add sugar, stir to combine. Bring to the boil over a medium heat and boil for 10 minutes.
Test by placing a spoonful on a saucer and place in the fridge to cool. When cool run your finger through the sample to see if it is thick enough. If it is still runny boil for another 5 minutes.

Typical of my mother's recipes it is quite vague. You just have to try it a few times.

Don't you agree that apricots are the essence of summer, they seem to glow with summer sunshine.

8 Responses to “Summer Sunshine”

  1. Oh! I am soooooooooo jealous. I love apricots. Growing up we were far enough south to get them most years excepting the years when there was a late frost. Now we are at least two zones too far north for apricots. I am trying to find a cold hearty variety but I have had no luck so far.

    I so wish you could pack some up and ship them to me!!

  2. I love apricots so much. I love to eat them straight our of the bag, I love the compott, I love them on cakes and I especially love their jam. The only bad thing is, I have to wait another 6 month to get them fresh and ripe and juicy, so I really envy you. Thanks for the recipes! May I ask you what I forever wanted to know - with what are you eating a chutney? Your recipe sounds so delicious!

  3. I would dearly love to have a glut of apricots. I lived with a French family in Provence for a few months, in my late teens, and they would pick fresh apricots from the trees in the garden and make a really wonderful tart (they'd put the kernals in too)it was probably one of the nicest things I had ever tasted.

    I know that many people grow peaches and apricots on South facing walls in the UK, but my garden in North facing and I daren't risk the disappointment. Sob, sob. I generally make my chutney from over-big courgettes and windfall apples, but this year I made Delia Smith's apricot chutney using dried was lovely, but not frugal or at all self-sufficient as all of the ingredients were shop bought.

    Next week I'm making marmalade, as the Seville oranges are in!

  4. Chutneys are usually eaten with meat, hot or cold , or with cheese in a sandwich. You can also have them as a accompaniment to a curry. You can add some chutney to a stew to give extra flavour. I'm sure there are lots of other ideas if anyone wants to add some.

  5. How are you able to "can" your chutney with screw type lids? Do you use a water bath method? Or do you just make the chutney and put the lids on? Do they seal? Do you keep the jars on the pantry shelf or do you put them in the freezer?

    The chutney looks wonderful!

  6. Gigi, the chutney is made just like jam, ie, boiled up with lots of sugar and then just sealed in clean jars. I keep it in the pantry and it keeps well. I don't know if you would have to refrigerate it in warmer climates.

  7. Ohh. I envy your apricots! That is something we just don't get much of here in terms of fresh fruit. We do love preserves though, and I love to use apricot preserves as a glaze onb meat.

    We finally have some winter weather here... snow today, which is wrecking havic with school finals that begin tomorrow. But I am glad to feel the cold and experience at least some winter this year... it will make next summer seem much more special!

    ENjoy your sunshine and think of us cuddled by the fire!

  8. That is one beautiful basket of apricots! So lucsious and so deliscious my mouth is watering. Can you dehydrate some to eat later too?


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.