Sunday, 13 January 2019

Something for the Pantry Shelves - Using Dried Apricots - January

Dried Apricots are nearly always kept in my pantry and indeed I often add chopped up dried apricots to fruit cake mixtures, home made mincemeat, tea cakes, granola and muesli to name but a few items you can also make a liqueur from them, and a wine from them, Ice cream and a fruit fool.  There is so much more to dried fruit than people usually know what to do with.  By choice I prefer the apricots from M & S they are nice and soft and chewy, but it depends on the pennies.  Equally I buy them from Holland and Barrett and also what was Julian Vines wholefoods (been taken over renamed by another group and known by something else which I cannot remember at this precise moment in time).

I like Apricot jam especially if it slathered over Croissants whether they be home made or boughten served with some soft cheese and it is delicious.  I always make at least a batch of it when the Apricots are fresh however it is also lovely when made with dried apricots and seems to have a depth of flavour that the fresh does not.  So really it is worth making at both times of year.  I also use Apricot jam to attach the Marchepane or Marzipan to the Christmas cake (or you can use sieved marmalade) but I prefer the apricot jam.  All jams can of course be used with pastries and cakes.

As I have a lot of dried Apricots inhouse as it were at the moment and I do not want to waste them (especially as dried fruit is so dear) I am going to make up a couple of batches of this.  It will then be ready and on the shelf for later in the year when I decorate the Christmas cakes at the beginning of December (it will be used before then but at least a couple of jars will be available for Christmas use). Extra jars are always added to hampers (if I have any).  So for my family a couple of batches is about the norm. 

I nearly forgot something - you need a recipe. Here is one that I regularly use:

Dried Apricot Jam

I also have enough to make at least a couple of batches of Delia's Spiced Apricot and Orange chutney (has garlic in) and if left to mature for a little while it will be fantastic.  That is why I am choosing to make this now so that it is all done and dusted for this Christmas yet to come.  I have posted the recipe before sometime back and the link for this is here: Apricot and Orange Chutney.

I make a lot of preserves but they are shared with family and friends so please do not feel overwhelmed or that you have to go the whole hog as it were like me.  Make what you need for your family but I have found on a practical level that when pennies are tight and you need to give a little present a bottle of homemade something always seems to hit the spot.

They also make a nice liqueur type drink as well. Dried Apricot Liqueur.

For this Christmas yet to come, I want to have the bulk of the stuff I want to make and preserve all done by the beginning of December so that I have time to play with the fancy things like icing the cakes, making decorations, hanging the decorations.  Making my own greenery displays and really being able to enjoy the nice bits as I call them and getting everything done up nicely.  The titivating.  Whether it will be here in this house or another one remains to be seen but wherever we will have Christmas in a fashion. At this time of my life I would prefer a newer bigger house - but that is in the lap of the Angels as they say and the Lottery!

I know a lot of you have had enough of Christmas but in my practical real life I only have one pair of hands and oh so much to make and do.  Therefore making long term stuff especially in the quieter months of the year is taking advantage of time and getting stuff done and off the check list.  I want a better balance of being able to enjoy home cooking, baking etc.  I am perhaps peculiar in that I really do like cooking it is one of my many passions in life.  Preserving is another: Christmas/Crafts etc...

I hope this post gives you some ideas of what to do with something you had perhaps not thought to use but I hate waste and if I can do something with an ingredient that makes my Pantry a little different then I will give it a go.  Remember Liqueur type drinks made from Vodka and Gin can at Christmas be made into a Kir drink with the aid of some sparkling wine or indeed Champers.  A little fizz never hurt anyone and having something different available to drink or for your table makes it that little bit extra special.

I am going back through a lot of my older recipes - I need to find them as well at times and trying to make them easier to find.  I hope it works.  Have only managed to do a few months in 2009 yet (my blog has been running quite a while) and you can access them on the side panel for the year.  If you click on the year it will also bring up a list of the posts.  Although in fairness when I first started out I had no idea of being able to find the recipes quite so quickly.

Catch you soon.




  1. Great ideas for dried apricots. I always buy a new bag of them when I need them for a recipe then find a couple of half used bags in the cupboard. Note to self- check first! I’ve just been reading Nigel Slaters blog with recipes from his Guardian column. He has a lovely recipe for an apricot and choc chip cake which I have saved for my leftovers. I like the idea of the dried apricot jam recipe so will have a go at that too.

  2. Every year I resolve to be more organised and have December to enjoy the “titivating” as you call it. Every year I fail. I cannot seem to apply my brain to it as it is so far away. Then hey ho, it regularly appears at the end of every December. I intend to try and put away a couple of gifts each month. We’ll see! X

  3. Hi Catherine, I will have to check that recipe out, I like Nigel Slater's ideas in any event. May be another one for the list! I love bananas but they do not like me unfortunately and make me ill. Think I have an intolerance rather than an allergy. As bananas are a vital source of potassium I needed to find an alternative and for me that has been the dried apricots. Also chop some up and add mixed dried fruit for a snack every so often as well. Take care and thanks for the link. Tricia xx

  4. Hi Patty,
    After being poorly in early December 2017, I was racing against the clock till the 24th Dec to get everything completed and didnt have time to enjoy the run up to Christmas so I resolved to have all my Christmas presents brought by the end of Nov 2018, which I managed to do but I was still running around trying to get the wrapping done and gifts distributed in December although we did manage 3 Sundays out to NT properties and Christmas craft fairs so this year I am absolutely determined to have all the gifts brought by the 2nd week in November and wrapped if not distributed by the end of November, I've been doing some red work embroidery on a book bag for a friend this month - that will the first Christmas gift to go in the gift bag ready for Christmas - I have some black and redcurrants in the freezer ready to make into jam in the next few weeks, ready for Christmas hampers next year so will be following your lead on that too- hope you're feeling much better today xxx

  5. Hi Trudie I know that one too well. Have had let downs before but nothing like last year. There are still some preserves in November/December to do with cranberries that I still need to make. However on the crafting side I shall follow your lead and get all the presents done by the second week of November. I want to make the men waistcoats, dickie bows etc. (maybe even some of the twirly ones). I have also missed out in the last few years of going to have a look at the various Christmas fayres and also garden centre displays. I have mentioned to some girl friends that perhaps we should have a couple of Christmas cook up days with lots of wine of course to start to get some things done for Christmas, encourage them and also spend some much needed girly time. One or two seem interested so I am hopeful that a couple of these days will happen. Even though we are adults its about the playing and enjoying and sharing. If you have blackcurrants, blackcurrant jam, home made cassis are good ones to make. Redcurrant jelly/jam I use all year round. /The redwork embroidery sounds lovely. Remember marmalade season is about on us and if you make a couple of batches now and then freeze enough for later on in the year you can make some for pressies or more if you run out. Good in marmalade cake, etc. Christmas is special and its part of keeping a family together so for me there is never too much effort only lots of love and perhaps one day memories for those that come after us. Take care Trudie love you popping in. Am a lot better than I have been for the past couple of days thank you. Feeling a bit more able to do stuff again. Take care Tricia xx

  6. Julian Graves is now Grape Tree

  7. Ah that's it. Thank you Angela - just had a moment there. I usually go once or twice a year and stock up there or at Holland and Barratt. Hope you are keeping well. Tricia xx


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