Saturday, August 4, 2012
Dried Apricots (a Kathi post)
Once upon a time I had a really good job with a library group. One of the things that made it really good was some of the people I got to work with (even if they are mostly liberals). I have been away from that job for a couple years now, but I stay in touch with the best ones through Facebook and occasional in-person gatherings.
One of those spiffy ladies now owns a house with an apricot tree that produced a bunch of fruit this year (probably because SHE owns it now -- she's special like that).
She shared with me about 20 pounds of those little fruits. She brought them by my office one day last week.
At first I thought I would make jam. That's kinda my standard response to a bunch of ripe fruit. But Jim suggested that we dry them instead. Yes! What a great idea. I can use them at Christmas-time for fruit breads or fruitcake (ahem. yes -- I LIKE it!) or I can make a compote or jam later, I would think.
So, when I got home from work the next day, we prepared them for drying.
The first thing we did was sort them and discarded the very few brown and mushy fruits. Seriously -- it was less than a handful. But it's a good thing we didn't wait until I got home TWO days later.
Then we peeled them. Doesn't that sound like it was a lot of work? But all we did was to dump them into a kettle of lightly boiling water, then turned the burner off. We waited 90 seconds, then plunged them into a bowl of ice water, let them sit a moment, then drained the water off by pouring them into a big-assed colander. (Sorry, Mom, that I said "ass.") When prepared this way, the skins just pull or fall off, which makes it very quick and easy. Jim trotted all those skins out and put them in the compost bin.
We then cut them in half, and placed them in a bowl of lemon water to keep them from browning.
Once they were all halved and in the juice, we drained the liquid off again, sprinkled them very lightly with white granulated sugar, and placed them on the fruit-leather sheets that came with our dehydrator. I don't know what they are really called. If you have a small, non-industrial dehydrator, you can just place them on the racks and they won't fall through. (Oh, that reminds me -- I need to tell Jim that London Broil is on sale at our King Soopers this week so he can make some tasty jerky.)
Then Jim loaded the racks into our dehydrator and set the timer and temperature according to the booklet that came with our dehydrator (which was 16 hours at 135 degrees).
The next morning when I got up, they were done!
Then, we just put them into a plastic container and now they are ready for us to use anytime we are ready for them.
Our dog, Nugget, helped (of course).