Apricot and Lavender together…..who would have thought!!

APRICOT and LAVENDER CHUTNEY

2 tbsp butter, 1/2 leek, diced

1 tsp. lavender flowers, chopped

4 cups apricots, pitted and sliced

1 tsp honey, salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan, heat butter and lightly saute leeks, about 5 minutes.  Add lavender and cook until fragrant.  Add apricots and continue to cook until just heated through.  Season to taste with honey.  Add salt and pepper.

Remove from heat and set aside.


California Apricots are in season!  Local markets are offering some of the sweetest apricots in the area.  Are you ready to start using such an amazing fruit in your kitchens?

The apricot is one of California’s prized specialty crops.  In fact, California produces a remarkable 95+% of all the apricots grown in the United States.  There are over 300 growers producing apricots from orchards covering 17,000 acres in the San Joaquin Valley with the leading production area being Stanislaus County.  California apricot growers produce a number of apricot varieties.  The most dominant variety planted and produced in California today is the Patterson developed in 1969 by Fred W. Anderson.  A consistent producer and very versatile, the Patterson is used for canning, freezing, drying, concentrate and fresh shipment. Eagerly awaited as one of the first summer fruits, the apricot has a relatively short fresh season.

APRICOT SHOPPING TIPS:

  • Look for plump, fairly firm fruit with an orange-yellow to orange color.
  • Fully ripe fruit is soft to the touch, juicy and should be eaten as soon as possible.
  • Keep apricots cool to prevent over ripening.  Store ripe apricots in the refrigerator where they may keep for up to a week.
  • Place hard apricots in a paper bag and let ripen for a day or two.
  • To freeze fresh apricots, simply half the fruit and place on baking sheet until frozen. Then pack in a plastic freezer bag.
  • Avoid green fruit which will not ripen.

DRIED CALIFORNIA APRICOTS
It takes about six pounds of fresh apricots to make one pound of dried apricots.   A concentrated source of fiber, dried apricots enjoy the distinction of being one of the most nutrient-dense dried fruits.  Sweetly tart, they are lauded for their flavor as well as their excellent snacking and baking possibilities.

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