There are many ways to enjoy California Apricots and one way that is popular in America and enjoyed extensively throughout Europe is Apricot Butter. Fruit butter such as Apricot Butter refers to the process where whole fruit such as apricots, apples, plums & peaches is heated then blended or forced through a sieve. Typically the fruit is initially cooked with the skins on which helps retain flavor, color and texture. The fruit is then pushed through a sieve or blended which gives it a smooth consistency. Sugar and other ingredients can then be added, and the fruit butter is cooked again until thick and macerated to the desired consistency. Some fruits do not require added sugar, and once the fruit has been cooked the second time the butter is finished. A variety of seasonings are sometimes added when sugar is added - nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and lemon juice are popular flavorings.
Similar to fruit butter is Lekvar which is a very thick fruit butter originating in Central and Eastern Europe. Typically made with apricots, peaches, strawberries, plums, prunes, raspberries, and cherries, it is used in pancakes, in pastries such as studel, sweet yeast breads, cookies and spread on toast, biscuits and used in fruit sauces.
Apricot Butter is very easy to make at home. Following is a popular recipe:
Wash and remove stems from apricots, cut in halves and remove pits. Cook apricots with skin on until soft, adding just enough water to prevent apricots from sticking (about ½ cup). Push through a sieve or food mill or place in blender. This should produce about 1-1/2 quarts apricot pulp. To prepare butter, combine apricot pulp with sugar. Cook until desired consistency, stirring frequently to keep fruit from sticking. Add lemon or orange juice and flavorings if desired. Butter can then be stored following proper canning process. Enjoy apricot butter on breads, pancakes, scones, waffles, ice cream, combined with cheese on crackers and as an ingredient in a variety of recipes such as cookies, bars and croissants.
Apricot Butter can also be found at many gourmet/specialty stores and many supermarkets carry fruit butters usually found with jams and jellies. It can also be purchased from online sources. One popular source for California Apricot Butter is Bertuccios. They are one of the premier suppliers of Blenheim Apricots, located in Hollister, California.