June is the Season for Apricots
Fresh apricots are now available at your farmers’ market, a sure sign that summer is almost here. Gather them now and make some fresh fruit salads, apricot sherbet, or apricot preserves. Yum!
About 95 percent of the apricots grown in the U.S. come from California. Many different varieties grow in California, each with special characteristics. The most prevalent varieties are the Poppys, Pattersons, Blenheims, Tiltons, and Castlebrites. The season usually runs from May through July, sometimes through August.
Look for fairly firm, smooth, plump, well-formed fruit that has an orange-yellow to orange color. If the fruit is hard and tinged with green it won't develop its full flavor. Fully ripe fruit is soft to the touch, full of juice, and should be eaten as soon as possible. Store unripe apricots in a paper bag at room temperature away from heat and direct sunlight. Once ripe, usually two to four days, apricots will keep for a day, maybe two, if stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Let the fruit come to room temperature before eating, and don't wash the fruit until you are ready to use it. Remember to handle ripe apricots gently, being especially careful not to break the skin.
Apricots can be used in many recipes that call for nectarines or peaches. They can be used in tarts, cobblers, crisps, jams, chutneys, and compotes, or grilled, sautéed, broiled, or baked; they go particularly well with poultry and pork. Here’s a great recipe using the early apricots available soon.