We know! We were as surprised as you are. There are apricots growing on the streets of Sheffield! If this was in the Sheffield Star, there’d be a picture of someone smiling and holding one.
The apricots were growing on a tree on Rupert Road in Nether Edge. We’re used to seeing apples and pears in massive numbers, but when it comes to softer fruit, it’s always a lovely surprise to see what our grandparents have left us.
We harvested on a sunny day at the end of July. We ate quite a few there and then: easily the best apricots we’ve ever tasted. Half the rest went into some fantastic jam, and the remainder (the seconds) were bottled, to preserve the sunshine for the winter months. Not forgetting, of course, that we gave a couple of the best boxes away to unsuspecting Nether Edge residents.
Bottling is not something we’ve done before, but it’s a very simple process.
1. Put halved apricots in jars (with metal lids).
2. Heat water and sugar to form a syrup (bring this to the boil).
3. Add the syrup to the jars and screw the lids on.
4. Sit the jars in a big pan, fill with water around it. Bring this pan to the boil.
5. Turn off the heat. Set the jars aside to cool.
The heat of the water sterilises the contents of the jars, so they should last for a while.
Now, classic Abundance stylee, we didn’t look at a recipe first. So we just guessed the amount of sugar, and probably didn’t put enough in. As we later found out, when you heat stone fruit with the skins on, the skins turn a little sour. So our bottled apricots are a whole new type: sweet and sour. Nothing a bit of marketing can’t fix.
But for all those who want to do it right, here‘s an alternative recipe. You probably don’t need as much sugar as this though, depending on how sweet your teeth are.
So that’s it. Mediterranean fruit stored up for the northern winter. Insert apricot based pun.
Photos by Gemma Thorpe, with a small contribution from Daniele.