As I’ve chronicled in previous posts, I have been struggling to get my kitchen groove back ever since we had to sell our land in the Columbia River Gorge. I never been much of a cook, but I had developed skills in baking and canning while on our land. When it went, so did my desire to carry on in the kitchen. Until I have my own house and garden, I imagine this will continue—I’m not heartbroken anymore, just waiting to settle in again.
However, a couple of weeks ago my colleague Sara (who has a great blog about her grass-fed beef operation) brought in to the office a box of apricots. I could feel my canning fingers get twitchy. I got home with those beautiful fruits and easily located our old country-living bible by Carla Emery on the bookshelf. It felt good to crack it open again. I had notes in the margin about canning peaches, so even though I’ve never canned apricots I had an idea of what lay before me.
I hauled the canning equipment from the basement and tried to estimate how many jars I would need. I put them and the lids (which I still had from making jam last year, happily) in the dishwasher to get them going, and started washing and cutting apricots. I didn’t bother to peel them, like I would have done with peaches.
I prefer to pack fruit with water rather than simple syrup (sugar). I’ve found, at least with peaches, that the water turns into a delicious “liquor” that is as much a treat as the fruit itself.
I wax poetic in Get Your Pitchfork On! about the joy of opening a jar of peaches in the winter. This February, we will have vibrant orange apricots, grown in the nearby Imnaha River Valley and picked by a friend, to brighten a cold winter’s day.