Apricot appreciation

Apricot tart

Sometimes fruit can be quite a tease. It looks so beautiful sitting on the grocer's shelf, but when you get it home the taste doesn't live up to the good looks. If you feel this way about apricots, you'll want to read what Russ Parsons has to say about this stone fruit. As with many other foods in the supermarket, apricots have been bred for attributes other than good taste. According to Parsons, the supermarket varieties "are intended for drying and canning, and when eaten fresh they are bland in flavor and mealy in texture."

Unless you live near an orchard that has a really good variety of apricot (Blenheim is the gold standard and Robada is another good eating variety), you're better off choosing an apricot-plum cross instead. Sometimes called apriums, plumcots or pluots, depending on the exact lineage, these crosses offer "fruit with tangy, rich flavor and that wonderful melting texture. They're not the same as a perfect Blenheim, but they're a lot more readily available. Especially keep an eye out for the varieties called Flavorella and Cot-n-Candy."

Once you have the plumcots home, the best way to store them is at room temperature on the kitchen counter. After the fruit ripens, you can refrigerate it in a sealed plastic bag or container. Fully ripe, refrigerated fruit will last about a week. The L.A. Times article linked above includes a slideshow of a half dozen different apricot recipes for inspiration, and the EYB Library has over 1,600 online recipes for apricots should you want more.

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