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4 unusual ways to preserve fresh apricots

Apricots (Cancler)
Popular food preservation methods for apricots include canning, freezing, and drying. Beyond these basic methods, you can preserve apricots in many other interesting ways. Here, we give you four recipes: Nut and Honey Apricot Fruit Leather, Apricot-Pineapple Jam, Apple Chutney with Dried Apricots and Cherries, or Apricot Nectar.

Nut and Honey Apricot Fruit Leather Recipe

Making fruit leather is a good way to use culls, ripe fruit, slightly bruised fruit, or fruit left over from making jam or other preparations. Apricots make some of the best fruit rolls. Measure 2 cups washed, pitted, and chopped apricots into a large saucepan and crush slightly using a potato masher or the back of a large spoon. Add 1/2 cup water and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until fruit is soft. Purée apricots* until smooth or slightly chunky. Add 1⁄2 cup honey, 1⁄2 cup finely chopped toasted almonds, and 1⁄8 teaspoon almond extract to the purée and stir until well combined. Preheat an oven or food dehydrator to 130°F to 140°F. Line the drying tray with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Spread sauce 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 inch thick on the liner. Dry until leather is evenly pliable and firm; there should be no soft spots. Peel from liner while still warm and cut or roll into serving pieces. Cool until no longer warm and then wrap pieces individually. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

*How to puree apricots

Purée fruits using one of the following tools and methods:

Apricot-Pineapple Jam Recipe with Powdered Pectin

Measure 8 cups sugar and have it ready before beginning to make jam. In a large (6- to 8-quart), heavy stainless-steel or enamel saucepan, stir 3 cups unpeeled, pitted, and chopped apricots (about 2½ lb.), 2½ cups peeled, cored, and finely chopped pineapple (about 1 medium), and 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice. Sprinkle evenly with 1 (1.75-oz.) box powdered pectin and stir until well blended. Place over high heat and stir constantly while it comes to a full, rolling boil and pectin dissolves completely. While mixture is boiling, pour in sugar. Continue to stir constantly, and return mixture to a full, rolling boil. Boil hard for 4 minutes, adjusting heat as needed to prevent boiling over, and stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Remove from heat and skim off any foam. Keep jam hot while filling jars to ¼-inch headspace. Process half-pints or pints of jam for 10 minutes (at 0 to 1,000 feet). Makes 4 to 5 pints.

Apple Chutney Recipe with Dried Apricots and Cherries

Serve this sweet chutney with beef or lamb stews or simple hors d’oeuvres of hard cheeses and almonds. In a large (8- to 10-quart) stockpot, stir together 1-2/3 cups peeled, cored, and chopped tart apples, (about 2 medium), 1/2 cups dried apricots, 1/2 cups dried cherries, 1 tsp. peeled and chopped fresh ginger, 1 clove crushed garlic, 2/3 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp. canning salt, a pinch of cayenne (or to taste), and 2/3 cup cider vinegar (5%). Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer about 1 hour, or until thick. Stir occasionally during cooking. Refrigerate and use within 1 month. For longer storage, keep mixture hot while filling jars, adjusting headspace to ½-inch. Process pints of apple chutney for 1 minute (at 0 to 1,000 feet). Makes 3 to 4 pints.

Recipe for Frozen or Canned Apricot Nectar

Wash about 3 ½ pounds apricots. Peel, pit, and coarsely chop fruit. Treat with ascorbic acid to prevent darkening. Measure fruit into a large saucepan and crush slightly. Add 1 cup hot water for each quart of fruit. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 10 to 15 minutes or until fruit is soft. Purée fruit until smooth. Add lemon juice and sugar (if using) to taste. (Lemon juice is used to enhance flavor, not raise acidity, so fresh lemon juice is acceptable in this recipe.) If sugar is added, reheat purée to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue to simmer until sugar is completely dissolved. Refrigerate and use within 1 month. For longer storage, freeze or keep nectar hot while filling jars, adjusting headspace to ¼-inch. Process pints or quarts of apricot nectar in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes (at 0 to 1,000 feet). Makes 1 quart.

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