Fresh Apricots: Get 'Em Before They're Gone

Fresh Apricots: Get 'Em Before They're Gone

Posted by Julie on Jul 6th 2020

While you can enjoy dried apricots all year long, fresh apricots are in season only for a short time each summer. From how to choose and store fresh apricots, to a selection of sweet and savory recipes that include fresh apricots, we’re here to help you make the most of this rare treat.

All About Apricots

You may not even notice the apricots at the supermarket if you aren’t looking for them. Unlike the bins overflowing with peaches, the selection of apricots is likely to be quite small. They are smaller than peaches, with orange skin that’s more velvety than fuzzy. Nearly all of the apricots grown in the US come from California.

Like other tree fruits we’ve covered, apricots don’t get any sweeter once they’ve been picked. Supermarket apricots are picked before they’re ripe, so you may need to let them soften for a day or two before eating. If you can find fresh apricots at a farmers’ market, they are more likely to be at their peak of sweetness. Steer clear of apricots with any remaining green tint or mushy spots, and opt for ones that are pale or bright orange and give slightly when you press on them. Fresh apricots will keep in the refrigerator for up to a few days.

Apricots are smaller than peaches, with orange skin that’s more velvety than fuzzy. Nearly all of the apricots grown in the US come from California.

You can eat fresh apricots raw as a snack or in salads, or you can cook them in a variety of ways. The riper they are when picked, the sweeter they will taste, with a touch of tartness too. Cooking them alters their flavor somewhat, so we encourage you to follow tried-and-true recipes for best results.

Apricot Recipes

As we noted above, apricots pair well with both sweet and savory dishes. What’s more, you can often substitute dried apricots when fresh apricots aren’t in season.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin and Apricot Serrano Salsa

Pork goes well with various fruits, including apricots. The marinade in this recipe from Food Network is simple, and the timing is flexible. Plus, the apricot serrano salsa can be prepared in advance and allowed to sit while the flavors meld. You can cook the pork on an outdoor grill, or on the stovetop with a double burner grill pan.

The recipe estimates about three apricots for the salsa, along with red onion, fresh cilantro and lime juice, and one serrano pepper. Serranos are a couple spots above jalapenos on the heat scale. If you’d prefer to go even milder, try poblano or anaheim peppers.

Cedar Plank Salmon With Apricot Glaze

Salmon is another protein that’s ideal for combining with apricots and other fruits. We found this recipe on Pop Sugar. While it calls for roasting the salmon in the oven, we’d try this recipe on the grill too. Soak the cedar planks in advance regardless of your chosen cooking method.

The recipe calls for five apricots in total: one for the glaze, and four more roasted alongside the salmon. Make the glaze by blending a chopped apricot, apricot preserves, miso, Dijon mustard, ginger, garlic, orange zest and juice, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. Prior to cooking, spread the glaze over the salmon and the apricot halves arranged on the cedar planks. Serve with green beans, as in the recipe, or another vegetable of your choice.

Grilled Apricots With Burrata, Country Ham, and Arugula

Grill apricots and use them to top fresh green salads with ingredients like red onion, prosciutto, and burrata.

It’s almost as if this recipe from Food and Wine was created especially to go along with our recent posts about burrata and arugula. This salad comes together quickly, and you can serve it on a large platter for sharing or on individual salad plates. The most time-consuming part is grilling the apricot halves, either on the grill or using a grill pan. Whisk lemon juice with oil, salt, and pepper for the dressing. You can use prosciutto in place of shaved country ham, but be sure to include arugula for its peppery bite, and burrata for its mild creaminess.

Poached Apricots With Vanilla and Cardamom

While apricots are delicious eaten raw as a snack, they need something extra to turn them into dessert. This recipe from The Kitchn makes an elegant summer dessert without much time or effort. Simmer honey, water, half a vanilla bean, and crushed cardamom pods in a saucepan on the stovetop to make a syrup. Then add apricot halves to the saucepan and cook on low for a few minutes until they soften. Transfer them to individual plates and drizzle with syrup before serving.

Rustic Apricot Jam

If you don’t try any of these other recipes, we hope you’ll give this one from Serious Eats a shot. Slather apricot jam on toast, biscuits, or brioche. Spread it between layers of cake. Top thumbprint cookies with it. Use a water bath canner to preserve multiple jars of apricot jam and give them as gifts. The one tip we’d like to offer is to use a scale with this recipe. Accurate measurements of your apricots and sugar will help ensure the taste and texture of your jam turn out perfectly.