A few weeks ago, the first summer stone fruit began to emerge at our weekly farmers’ markets, which always draws quite a bit of excitement. It started with the cherries out of the Bakersfield area, quickly followed by some early cling peaches and nectarines.
By this weekend, as the weather continues to warm across the Central Valley, you can expect to find at least a dozen types of stone fruit present at the weekend markets. Included in the mix will be delicious, full-flavored summer apricots.
Praised for their tangy thin skin, super-sweet flesh and amazing aroma, fresh apricots are now ready for pick up each week at your local farmers market and should not be passed up, as the season will only last for about another month or so. They will not only be able to satisfy the heartiest of fruit cravings, but will deliver you an extremely impressive amount of beta carotene (due to their deep orange pigments), as well as supply a good amount of potassium and fiber to keep you healthy.
Apricots are a very versatile fruit, perfect for any meal of the day.
They’re great when sliced into your breakfast cereal (hot and cold), sliced into a fruit salad, used for baking a great apricot crisp, cobbler or pie. And they’re perfect for making fresh homemade jams due to the high natural pectin levels.
They are also amazing when grilled for a great accompaniment to grilled chicken and fish dishes, — or as a unique dessert.
Simply cut apricots in half, brush with butter and brown sugar, and grill for about 3 minutes. They come out with a great sweet and smoky flavor.
This week I prepared a tasty apricot and strawberry crisp, topped with vanilla ice cream. This is probably one of my favorite desserts to enjoy with barbecued ribs.
Apricot and Strawberry Crisp
4 cups apricots, pitted and cut into halves or quarters depending on the size
2 cups sliced strawberries
1½ tablespoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup butter, cut into very small pieces
¾ cup rolled oats
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, gently toss together apricots, strawberries, cornstarch and ground cinnamon. Place contents evenly in a 9- by 12-inch baking dish.
In a mixing bowl, combine brown sugar and flour. Then toss together the butter and rolled oats until incorporated and form a crumbly texture. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the fruit.
Place in the oven and cook for about 35-40 minutes, or until the fruit is soft and bubbly and the top is a golden-brown color. Let rest for at least 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.
Top with vanilla ice cream.