Apricots / JillHough.com

6 tips for buying and using apricots

The late spring and early summer farmers market is full of deliciousness—snap peas, radishes, artichokes, beets, berries, tangerines, and more. But there’s one treat that, when I first spotted it about a month ago, stopped me in my tracks.

Apricots. Big, beautiful piles of apricots.

I mean, stone fruit is one of the best things about summer, right? Well, along with cherries, apricots are the first stone fruits of the season. So it’s time to dig in.

A few tips for buying and using apricots.

1. Shop now.

Depending on where you live, apricot season is early May through July or August. Don’t bother buying them any other time of year, if you can even find them. They’ll be a shadow of their potential selves.

2. Shop at the farmers market.

Most of the U.S. crop comes from California, so if you’re lucky enough of live here or in another pocket where they’re grown locally, the farmers market is the way to go.

One, because the closer to the source, the longer the fruit gets to stay on the tree picking up sweetness and flavor. Once picked, apricots will get softer, but not tastier.

And two, at the farmers market you can usually try before you buy (although tasting isn’t fully back at mine yet).

3. Shop with your nose.

Your nose knows. In other words, if you’re walking by a display of apricots and you’re hit by their aroma, it’s a good time to take some home.

If you’re not hit by their aroma, pick up a few and give them a sniff, looking for ones that have a strong apricot-y smell. If you can’t find any, don’t buy any. Because if they don’t smell tasty, they’re not going to be tasty.

This sniffing strategy also works with peaches, strawberries, and melons.

4. Shop with your eyes.

In addition to a deliciously fruity aroma, a ripe apricot will have a rich color. It could be yellow, orange, a little pink, or even red depending on the variety. But it shouldn’t be pale yellow, green, or brown.

5. Store them properly.

Once you get home, keep apricots at room temperature for a day or two if you’d like them a little softer. But keep an eye on them—apricots are really perishable and go from perfect to mush fast.

Once perfect, use apricots right away or store them in the fridge.

Sparkling Wine Floats with Apricot-Vanilla Sauce / JillHough.com A great way to enjoy stone fruit season, this dessert is simultaneously elegant and playful.

6. Make the most of them.

A few ideas:
Sparkling Wine Floats with Apricot-Vanilla Sauce (above)—a dessert that’s both elegant and playful
Fresh Fruit Parfaits with Raw Sugar and Whipped Crème Fraiche
Fresh Stone Fruit Chutney
Apricots with yogurt and granola—one of my favorite and most regular summer breakfasts
Try apricots on toast with ricotta, thyme, and honey
In a salsa
In a cold soup
In muffins, cakes, or scones
In a green salad—like this one, using apricots instead of strawberries
On a caprese platter—like this, but with apricots instead of grapes
Or grilled with chicken or pork

Last but not least, swap apricots into recipes using other stone fruits, including:
Nectarine Almond Rosé Crumble
Cherry Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips
Tomato and Peach Salad with Feta and White Balsamic
Peach Galettes
Buttery, Sweet, Bright, Thoroughly Delicious Plum Cake

These ideas work for peaches, plums, and nectarines, too—which won’t be far behind all these beautiful apricots. :)

Apricots / JillHough.com

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