Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Summer's Bounty: the Apricot

I love this time of year if for nothing else than mother nature's sweet treasures. Today's tasty treats hail from the Okanagan: the elegant apricot, one of the first signs that summer truly has arrived...not that I would be one to doubt with the little heat wave we've been having.

Several fact to confirm the apricot's status as a noble fruit: these beautifully orange coloured fruits are chalked full of beta carotene, lycopene, vitamin C and fibre. They've been known to protect against cataracts and prostate cancer. They were revered as aphrodisiacs in some cultures, and in the Hunza region (longest living and healthiest people in the world), a person's wealth was measured by how many apricot trees he owned. As early as 502, apricot seeds were used to treat tumors...they have a remarkably high amygdalin content and are a source of vitamin B17. The kernels are also often substituted in place of almonds to flavour Amaretto and the pressed oil is used for cooking or in cosmetics. (Quick side note: if you're going to try to do anything with the pits, please bake them first as the kernels can be poisonous if ingested raw in large quantities).

So what have I done with my apricots aside from eating? Give you one quick guess.

34 comments:

JBelle said...

Here is a fabulous recipe from Orangette, my fave:

http://orangette.blogspot.com/2007_06_01_archive.html

Fede said...

Hello, nice coincidence.
I love apricots, and leave alone apricot's jam. Outstanding!
When I was a kid we had an apricot's tree, and I would spend hours climbing it. And I also used to eat the kernels, very good taste. I wasn't aware of all this beneficial properties, and now I have one more excuse to keep eating them.
Please save one jar for me, I'll stop by this summer.
Good night and good luck.

thailandchani said...

Very interesting! :) I love apricots... especially dried.


Peace,

~Chani

Carla said...

JBelle, Thanks...it looks utterly divine. Next on my list of actionables.

Fede, There's a jar with your name on on it. Stop by anytime.

Chani, I like dried apricots as well. Although I usually make my own to avoid the sulphites found on the commercial stuff.

Sirdar said...

Apricot jam. I bet it is good especailly when you use fresh fruit.

What fruits are in season in late August? We will be going through that area then.

Fede said...

Cool!
I am planning a trip to Vancouver with my brother in August. And I thought that after crossing Oregon and Washington to eventually get to Vancouver, your little lake would be a pity to miss (I just read again this sentence and this piece of English sounds weird).
We could help your little 11 yo friend to rake the ...
Good night and good luck!

Steffi said...

Apricot jam-that´s really delicious especially to a nice breakfast on a croissant ;O).

rowena said...

Hee hee...I've always felt that a person's wealth was measured by how many fruit trees he owned. The japanese maple was only to give contrast to our "wealth", which, just didn't happen this year with the young transplants. Boo..

So how many jars did you get from all your hard work? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Great post - but just a pity I don't like apricots!!

Oranges, Grapes etc - but not apricots -even though they are very good for you, I so agree.

Peter

Beccy said...

The apricot jam looks delicious. I remember weaning my eldest and apricots were in season so I made hime lots of purees (with pear or apple) he loved them. It's a shame the season for apricots is so short...well it is here.

dawn said...

Wow, and double wow, great photos. The colours are astounding. I love fresh fruit. I am so tempted to move when I see those photos, but don't tell Sirdar. I actually think it is better to take a bunch of trips to B.C. to get the fruit instead of moving. Great post. I'm hungry.

Carla said...

Sirdar, One of the best jams going. Around late August...you should be able to get peaches (ask for freestone if you remember), transparent apples (good for baking), Coronation grapes (these grapes are really amazing, they are so tasty and they are not usually sold in the grocery stores. They can be eaten raw or used anyway you would use a blueberry). If you go through south Okanagan (Osoyoos / Cawston), you'll be able to get tomatoes galore and at great prices. And probably you'll be able to find plums as well. Lots of variety. You certainly have your pick.

Carla said...

Fede, If you come up this direction, let me know...I might be gone for a fair amount of August. When were you thinking?

Steffi, Yes, the jam is really a nice treat with breakfast.

Carla said...

Rowena, I would own a whole orchard if I could :-)). I made three batches (usually about 7 jars per batch), but I gave one batch to my Mom.

Peter, You don't like rhubard nor apricots?!!! 'Tis really a shame, both are so good for you. Even if you find them tart, cooked up they are really delicious. I just like to think you haven't had them prepared in the right way.

Carla said...

Beccy, Yes, the apricot season isn't terribly long here either. Luckily there are a few different varieties and they all ripen at slightly different times extending the season somewhat.

Cheryl said...

Now I'm pining for apricot jam, I didn't realize it was that time of the summer already!
How are you holding up with this heat? I heard it was hotter than heck there yesterday.

Carla said...

Dawn, There really is nothing like fruit picked fresh off the vine (or tree) and yes, you can actually see the difference in the colour as well as taste it. It really makes the fruit we get shipped from the south in the winter seem very, very sad. If you're into canning or preserving, the trips are well worth it.

Carla said...

Cheryl, Apricots are one of the first fruits...apricots and strawberries. And yes, it's been extremely warm here and supposed to be even warmer next week. Thank goodness for glacier fed lakes. No better way to cool off. Honestly!

Debbie said...

Mmm. More reasons to love apricots.

Beautiful photos. Makes my mouth water looking at them. And I love apricot jam.

Carla said...

Debbie, Apricot jam is one of my favorites. And my family uses a fair amount of it in Christmas baking. I know...early to be thinking about that, but not too early for the jam.

BurdockBoy said...

I was lucky enough to try some of those Okanagan apricots when I was just up that way. I didn't plan on buying any because I'm never sure what I can bring back across the border, but after I sampled one I was sold. I don't know why I worried, they were all eaten before we hit the border anyways.

Carla said...

Burdock boy, Lucky you had them all eaten. I don't think you can bring any fresh fruit across the boarder. Up here it used to always be a joke that when we go down, your boarder guards always ask us if we have any fire arms and when you guys come up here, ours always ask if you have any fruit. But I don't think you're aloud to bring them across in either direction.

BurdockBoy said...

One time I stopped at the US border before I went up to Canada and asked what was not allowed and what was. They were hardcore on potatoes for some reason. Some fruit but not all. This time we brought cherries across (we even declared them), but they didn't care.

It's funny I always get asked going in to Canada if I have firearms or bearspray. I guess we Americans must really be into guns and bearspray.

This last time we reallyy got searched coming into Canada. The Boarder guy even took part of our vehicle apart with wrenches. I don't know what he thought we were up to. Then coming back into the states, the boarder patrol just peeked their heads in and asked a couple questions. Strange. Usually I get more harassed coming back in.

BurdockBoy said...

One time I stopped at the US border before I went up to Canada and asked what was not allowed and what was. They were hardcore on potatoes for some reason. Some fruit but not all. This time we brought cherries across (we even declared them), but they didn't care.

It's funny I always get asked going in to Canada if I have firearms or bearspray. I guess we Americans must really be into guns and bearspray.

This last time we reallyy got searched coming into Canada. The Boarder guy even took part of our vehicle apart with wrenches. I don't know what he thought we were up to. Then coming back into the states, the boarder patrol just peeked their heads in and asked a couple questions. Strange. Usually I get more harassed coming back in.

Mone said...

wow, those apricots are looking so yummy. They are still green over here, but I've made some raspberry jam already.

Carla said...

Burdockboy, The boarder crossing is getting much more vigilant going in both directions. My experience is that if you're going back into your own country it's usually not too bad, however, going the opposite way usually involves a thorough search and tapping on all areas of the trunk. Of course sometimes they are much friendlier than others.

Mone, we have ripe raspberries here as well. I just picked a bucket yesterday. I here that your weather is unseasonable cool this year.

Anonymous said...

Carla, I do like Strawberries and Lemons - does that help?

Peter

Carla said...

Peter, Strawberries are good :-))

Diesel said...

Mmmmm. I planted an apricot tree not long ago. Yummy.

Pamela said...

I have a wonderful friend who made preserves - and something went awry. It turned into syrup.

It was the BEST syrup ever. We had it on waffles. yum.

Emma in Canada said...

I heard it was +40 out you way yesterday. I'm hoping for a slight cool off by the end of the month and my holiday!

Annie Wicking and Loman Austen said...

Wow how wonderful apricot fresh from the tree.

I shall be out hunting for wild damsons soon and blackberries from our hedgerows around our village.

Best wishes

Annie

Carla said...

Diesel, Yummy, indeed.

Pamela, I love fruit syrup. Sometimes I make that too...on purpose though.

Carla said...

Emma, Not quite 40, but it's certainly flirting with 40. Last night it cooled off though. I thought a storm was going to move through, but it unfortunately kind of blew over.

Annie, There are wild blackberries close to where I live as well. Delicious!