The Apricot Tree Seals The Deal

After my last post about our apricots, I felt pretty comfortable with my decision to keep the tree. Sure, there might a little tree-shaping in order, so that I can mow the lawn without ducking. But overall that tree was looking good to me.

Then it played its trump card.

Apricots, you see, are one of the few fruits I’ve always liked better cooked. I’ve had fresh apricots from the store but their flavor was rather weak; it took cooking them into jam or a crisp, or at least drying them down, before that intense rich flavor would pop out. Or so I thought.

It turns out that, like so many fruits, apricots are absolutely superb — if picked properly sun-ripened. Just like peaches, there is a world of difference between a fruit which has ripened fully on the tree, and one which is under-ripe or allowed to ripen on the counter. I discovered this when, preparing to mow the lawn, I discovered a ripe apricot that had fallen to the grass.

I picked it up. It looked fine — softer than I would have picked it, but in good condition, and thoroughly warmed by the heat of the afternoon.

What the heck? I tasted it.

After a brief pause I went into the house, where the rest of my family and two neighbor kids were avoiding the heat of the day. “You have to try this,” I told them — all of them, in order — with the same fervor that a religious convert might have while saying “Have you tried prayer in your life?”

If you’ve never tasted a sun-ripe apricot, you should try to do so. It’s like sunlight translated into vivid tango music translated into warm golden fruit, all sensual rhythms and sultry harmony. It’s sophisticated and sweet and rich.

Or, as Dave phrased it rather more prosaically, like “jam in a skin.” It’s like that too.

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