Apricot Harvest

The 4th of July weekend is typically the time of year Blenheim apricots are at their peak of ripeness in our area. This year, my 8 year old Blenheim apricot tree had 200-300 apricots, which is an enormous amount of fruit compared to prior years. Last Monday, my mom and I spent the holiday picking the apricots and making apricot jam. Every year, I like to try making something new with apricots. This year, I decided to make apricot/orange conserve in addition to apricot jam. We made it by adding 2 cups of orange juice to an apricot jam recipe using oranges from my valencia orange bush. The apricot/orange conserve turned out to be especially good.

These pictures show my apricot tree a few days before we harvested the fruit. Fresh apricots are one of the things I look forward to with anticipation every summer. Like other types of stone fruits, they are in season for such a short time, but the flavor of home grown tree-ripened apricots makes them worth waiting for.

The bird netting I wrapped around the tree in mid-June kept the birds as well as the squirrels from harvesting the fruit before we did. Putting the netting on and taking the netting off is the most difficult part of growing and harvesting apricots in our yard. To make the process of netting the tree more manageable, I prune the tree heavily in the winter and once more in June just before putting the netting on to keep the tree about 10 feet tall. But besides the trouble of netting the tree, growing apricots is easy, at least in our climate. I fertilize the tree about once a year with all-purpose fertilizer and water it with an automatic drip system everyday in the summertime.

July 11 2010 09:49 pm | Apricots