Apricot lovers rejoice: Blenheim apricots in season, available at BriarPatch Co-op | TheUnion.com
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Apricot lovers rejoice: Blenheim apricots in season, available at BriarPatch Co-op

Apricot lovers rejoice! We have arrived at the time of year when Blenheim apricots are in season.

These lovely, soft and slightly fuzzy little globes of sweet and juicy goodness are with us for a short while, so be sure to get while the getting’s good.

Years ago, Blenheim apricots were the most popular variety grown in California. They are an heirloom variety not as well-suited for the “rough and tumble” trip from tree to market to table as more common modern commercial varieties. Blenheim apricots are more prone to disease, sunburn and weather changes … there is a delicate balance of conditions in which they will flourish. So, when they are here, it is a real treat.



The fruit tend to have green shoulders and they ripen from the inside out. Often the best way to gauge ripeness is to look for a vibrant variety of color on the little guys – green blends into colors of a clear dawn sky like yellow-orange-pink. At first bite of a ripe Blenheim apricot tastebuds are greeted with floral, honeysuckle-sweet goodness.

They are so yummy that you might just eat them all before you add them to green salads, fruit bowls or smoothies. They really shine simmered into sweet sauces for savory main dishes, cooked into compotes, jams, jellies and syrup for pancakes, toast or oats.



Combined with chili peppers they are the secret ingredient to a tangy and sweet hot sauce. Equally delicious in baked goods like muffins, scones, tart or pie. Apricots pair nicely with spices like cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg or fruits like cranberries, strawberries and blueberries.

If no-fuss is your style, these little gems go great paired with sheep cheeses, nuts and charcuterie for an easy summertime spread for company or even as simple as apricot ricotta open-face tartine.

TaTangy, Crunchy Apricot & Arugula Salad

Looking for that perfect summer meal? Make this tangy, crunchy apricot and arugula salad served alongside grilled chicken or pork glazed with a tangy and a little bit sweet Carolina BBQ Mustard Sauce.

4 cups baby arugula

1/3 cup pistachios, lightly toasted and chopped

2 Tbsp basil leaves, torn

2 Tbsp + 1 tsp balsamic vinegar (preferably aged)

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

2 oz fresh chevre

8 small or 6 large Blenheim or other ripe apricots

Directions

Combine arugula and basil in a large bowl. Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss greens and dressing. Cut apricots in quarters, removing pits and arrange on salad. Dollop chevre and sprinkle pistachios on top and serve.

Carolina BBQ Mustard Sauce

Tangy, and a little sweet. This South Carolina classic is perfect on grilled chicken and pork.

1 cup yellow mustard

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp ketchup

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

¾ tsp kosher salt

3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp your favorite hot sauce

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. You can store sauce in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Letting sauce sit for a couple of days will really let the flavors come out.

Paula O’Brien is editor of The Vine, BriarPatch Food Co-op’s newsletter

Blenheim apricots hang on a branch in an orchard.
Provided Sundry Photography


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