July 17: Apricots

Sophie Conran Pick's Apricot

The apricot, in all its golden warmth always brings sunshine to the table and thanks to modern breeding techniques we can now not only grow this pretty little tree, we can also get them to fruit abundantly in the British Isles. The apricot tree is actually frost hardy to an astounding -30, however, it blossoms early and we often have late frosts which kill the fruit in the bud. These new varieties, if grown against a south-west facing wall to get the best of the afternoon sun, will thrive and reward you with clouds of blossom in May and a cascade of golden juicy fruit in late July through August. It’s easy to use and a versatile little chap, going well with savoury dishes as well as sweet. Some of my favourite uses are in a lamb tagine – all spiced and tender, a simple compote dolloped on my yoghurt for breakfast, or soft pillows of apricot fool to bring back summer days of childhood.

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