This is a blog post about preserving fruit, but on second read, I realize that it’s also about going with the flow of life.
I didn’t get as many apricots into jars this year as I like. I ordered my annual half-bushel from Beechwood Orchards like I always do, but it arrived at the start of that week when my mother-in-law went into the hospital, which was also the same week as the photo shoot for my next book.
While I did do my best to prevent the apricots from going bad, at least a quarter of them ended up succumbing to mold before I could cook them down.
Instead of feeling bad about the waste (I’m trying to spend less time beating myself up about my inevitable shortcomings), I’m focusing my efforts on celebrating the apricot preserves I was able to make. This apricot and cherry compote is one such victory.
Much like the peach and cherry preserve I wrote about on Wednesday, this simple preserve employs just three ingredients. Because it contains a relatively low amount of sugar, it ended up with a fairly sloshy consistency. Thankfully, I’m okay with that.
You see, one of the privileges of being the preserver is that you get to set the expectations for each finished batch. I will often go into a preserving project thinking I’m making jam, only to realize that I’ve ended up with a preserve, compote, or sauce. Instead of struggling with the outcome, I embrace what is. Being flexible saves a great deal of heartache in the end.
- 3 pounds apricots
- 2 pounds sweet cherries
- 3 cups sugar
- Prepare a boiling water bath canner and 8 half pint jars.
- Pit and chop apricots.
- Pit cherries.
- Combine fruit in a large, non-reactive pan and add sugar. Stir to combine.
- Place the pan on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring regularly, until the fruit colors marry, the liquid gets thick and sticky, and the total volume in the pan reduces by a little more than 1/3.
- When you like the finished consistency, remove the pan from the heat.
- Funnel the preserves into the prepared jars. Wipe the rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
- When time is up, slide canner off the hot burner and remove lid. Let the jars sit in the cooling water for an additional 5 minutes (this helps prevent any siphoning that might be caused by a very rapid change in temperature).
- Remove jars from canner and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool.
- When jars are cool enough to handle, test seals. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly. Sealed jars should be stored in a cool, dark place and used within a year or two.