Freitag, 4. September 2009

Growing Our Own Food II - Apricots

It´s a shame. Last weekend my husband has shortened our one and only apricot tree by more than a half without taking a picture of it as a whole before (to be honest, this should have been my job). After yielding large crops of delicous apricots for a couple of years, we had to come to that sad decision. The tall tree had been pollarded lengthwise by a severe storm just after we had moved in. Gale-force winds are blowing frequently in this area, and it was to be expected that the remaining half of the beautiful tree would fell as a whole some time. Furthermore it already had got too high to pick the fruits. Falling on the ground most of them got damaged and had to be cooked at once.

We met the challenge and got rather busy with cooking apricot dumplings, cakes, jam, chutney, sirup and something special called "Marillenröster" (Marillen = apricots). We also experimented with air-drying apricots in the sun. A bold and funny venture: my husband climbed a ladder every morning to place the baking sheets with the apricots on the roof of the house and removed them again in the evening or when rain was emerging.

The effort payed off: I never ate dried apricots with such phantastic flavor.

Have I whetted your appetite? Then I will betray to you how to cook this special something called Marillenröster, a traditional Austrian kind of stewed fruit which tastes delicous when mixed with natural yoghurt, the perfect stuff on hot summer days:

Wash the apricots, cut them in half, remove the kernels and put them in a large cooking pot. Add a bit of water and bring to the boil. Stir occasionally. Simmer until the peel of the apricots gets puckered. Skim any foam or scum off the top (you can eat it, it tastes like jam). Add sugar (300 to 400 g for 1000 g of fruits) and let it simmer shortly until the liquid gets limpid. If you like, add some fresh mint. Leave to cool a little, then pour into clean jam jars and cover them.

If you want to eat it within one week, allow to cool completely and place the jars in the fridge. If you want keep it for a longer time you have to sterilize - don´t be afraid, it´s quite simple: Put the jars in a large cooking pot filled with cool water (the jars should be almost covered with water). Bring to boil slowly and simmer for about 10 minutes at 70 to 80 degrees. That´s it! The Marillenröster will keep for about a year, but will be long gone before then!

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