Any fruit can be used to make this juice concentrate. Keep in the fridge and pull out to make an instant glass of cold apricot nectar to drink on hot summer days.
It’s apricot season right now, trees are laden with orange spheres of tart flesh. It’s rather decorative, orange set against green. When tree fruits are in season, however, they come in a deluge but are soon over, gone for another year.
When we had the first basket of apricots, my husband buried his face in them and inhaled. “Ah,” he sighed, “the smell of summer.” When he was a child, his family would pick boxes of apricots and take them to sell in a spa town.
My in-laws have seven trees, which means much preserving of apricots. My mother in law cans jars and jars of them, and they are eaten as a side with meat during the winter.
My father in law keeps the ground clear of rotting fruit by dutifully picking the fallen fruit. He mashes it a bit, pits and all, throws it in a barrel, and lets it ferment away. Later, the barrels will be taken to a still, to make ‘marhulovica’, apricot schnapps. Connoisseurs of various fruit -vica’s might pit the apricots first, but in my opinion, the 50-some percent alcohol is good for medicine (a shot does wonders for a stomachache) or making tinctures. Here, though, it’s downed by the shot and my husband shakes his head when I suggest mixing a drink.
From those seven trees I canned some unsweetened puree (I would call it jam, but it’s rather tart), froze some, dried some, and made an amazing crisp a few times (recipe to come). Slovaks commonly make ‘balash’, a sweet yeast dough spread out on a cookie sheet with rows of apricot halves on top. I even tried a fermented apricot spread, but I don’t see it being a hit here.
And of course, we’ve eaten our fill many times over of fresh apricots. I can pretend it’s for the vitamin C and fiber.
My sister in law recently brought some apricot syrup to a family bbq. Whereas I grew up with frozen juice concentrate, here juice concentrates are sold as syrup, although of course not all syrups actually contain real fruit.
This is her recipe, a simple recipe that doesn’t require any cooking, and I’ve added a probiotic option.
- 1 kg / 2.2 lbs apricots, pitted
- 6 ml / 2 1/2 cups water
- 2 tbsp fermented vegetable juice or 1 tsp water kefir grains (optional)
- 400 g /1 cup honey (or other sweetener to taste, my SIL used 1/2 a kg of sugar)
- Blend apricots, water, and optional fermenting starter in a blender, food processor, or with a stick blender. Leave covered overnight in a cool place, even if you don't add a fermenting starter.
- Strain through a sieve and blend again with honey. It will taste more sweet as a syrup then when diluted as a juice.
- Mix 2 tbsp syrup with one cup water for a light drink.
- Store in the fridge (I'm not really sure for how long) or freeze.
What is your smell of summer?