Every year my neighbour lets us pick the apricots from their tree that hangs over our shared fence. There’s always plenty of fruit which also means working out how to preserve it. Previously I’ve turned it into a puree and fruit leather which has been a real hit. The recipe for fruit leather is here. This year I’ve made Apricot chutney to go with the cauliflower pakora we have every now and then which is a real treat in our house. I’ve also dried the fruit too – both recipes are below.

Apricot chutney

1.5 kg apricots

1 tablespoon oil
1 onion

1 teaspoon dried ginger
5 tablespoons honey
5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup corn flour, mix in with a little cold water (to avoid lumps) before adding to main mix

Remove seeds of apricots, and slice into small 5 cent size pieces. Chop up the onions and cook for a few minutes on medium heat until golden. Add the apricots into the pot with the onions. Cover, and cook until softened and they release their liquids. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir well and cook for around 10 minutes until thickened.

Put mixture into pre-sterilised jars. Boil jars for 15 mins in preserving unit, turn off then remove when cool.

Dried apricots

Cars parked in the sun get hot, really hot. This recipe takes advantage of solar energy to naturally dehydrate the fruit.

Halve and pit the fresh apricots. Place on flat trays and put trays on the dash in your car. Crack window open a little to allow moisture to leave the car. Bring in trays if you need to use the car. Turn over once each day. It will take 2-3  days to dehydrate the fruit.

Here are the halved apricots on the dash next to the finished apricots.

The bright orange ones from the shops get gassed with sulphur for a longer shelf life. These haven’t been treated with sulphur which is why they are dark. Do a little experiment and taste the bright orange ones and home dried ones. The texture is the same but the flavour of summer apricots just isn’t there in the bright ones. The flavour and taste is as different as chalk and cheese. It’s so easy and well worth drying them at home.

Apricots, peaches, plums and nectarines

I have never appreciated stone fruit until moving to Adelaide. Maybe it’s because the fruit I was eating in the past was picked, under ripe and a long way from where I was eating it. If you can get the fruit before the birds do you’ll have an abundance of fruit right through January. Starting early are the apricots, then come the white plums, purple plums, yellow nectarines and million dollar peaches. Eating fresh straight off the tree is great, but these fruits generally ripen at the same time and need some preserving or sharing with friends and family. Some ways to use the excess fruit are to dry fruit either in pieces or as fruit leather, cooked in tarts and free form pastries or made into jam.