Makes two small-ish jars worth, you can very easily double or triple the recipe.
1 cup water
1 cup white wine
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
500g (about 8) apricots halved – underripe works, as well as ripe, overripe might turn to mush but will still be delicious
Two jars – try to use ones with the little dimple in the lid – this helps to know they’re sealed properly.
Poached apricots spooned over vanilla ice cream or Greek Yoghurt is simply sublime.
Preserving is often seen as too much work, but we’re here to say that although it takes a little bit of time (perhaps 1.5 hours total), it’s not as hard as it looks. You don’t need fancy equipment or any specific cooking skills, and the result is a reminder of the sunshine when it’s the darkest days of winter. Would you rather traipse the shops looking for gifts or learn a new preserving skill? Give the gift of summer’s sweet delights this Christmas!
Vanilla Poached Apricots
Combine all ingredients except apricots in a non-reactive saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, then simmer for 5 mins. Add apricot halves cut side down, and allow syrup to return to a simmer, then reduce heat so the syrup is barely moving.
Press a sheet of baking paper down on the fruit to prevent excessive evaporation and movement. The fruit should be tender in 5 mins. Remove apricots with a slotted spoon to a wide dish and boil the syrup for a further 5 mins to concentrate flavour. Set aside to cool for at least 15 mins.
Carefully place fruit cut side down into sterilised* jars leaving 3 cm room at the top. Gently pour the syrup over the apricots, then using a non-metal, clean tool (chopsticks work well), nudge the fruit so that any trapped air is released to the surface. Top up the jars with syrup, leaving 2 cm below the lid. Using a clean dishcloth, wipe down the rim of the jar. Put the lids of the jars on finger tight (not super tight).
Pop a tea towel or upturned heatproof bowl at the bottom of a deep saucepan, add the apricot jars and cover the jars in cold water. Bring the water up to a boil and simmer for 35 minutes then turn off the heat and leave to cool in the water.
Once jars are removed from the water bath, check to make sure each lid has sealed itself properly – the little popper in the centre of the lids should be sucked down.
Sealed jars will keep for 6 months. If you find some of your jars have not sealed, not to worry, you can either keep them in the fridge and eat them within a week or pop them in a plastic container and freeze for 12 months!
Enjoy spooned over vanilla ice cream or as a crumble!
Hints and Tips
* To sterilise jars, preheat oven to 150°C. Wash the jars and lids thoroughly with hot soapy water, rinse and place upside down on an oven tray. Place in oven and leave for 15-20 mins.
To ease the process of taking labels off reused jars, soak them in hot soapy water for a little while. The glue will melt and the labels and they should peel off easily.