Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Apricot Season

Apricot season has arrived in our backyard and by apricot "season", I mean a period of roughly 5 days.

Our treasured apricot tree produces the most delicious apricots I've ever tasted. I am only half-joking when I say that I married my husband because of this tree (I joke that the other reason was the incredible fig tree! ;-). It even worked out that apricot season was in full swing over our wedding weekend and yes, we did just celebrate another very, very happy anniversary! While eating (and eating and eating) from this very tree over our wedding weekend, our nieces and nephews dubbed my husband the very appropriate, "Uncle Apricot".

There is one small problem: all of the apricots arrive at the same time and once picked, they last only a few days at most. So during our brief season in addition to enjoying all the fresh apricots we can eat, I am frantically picking fruit, sharing it with friends and family, and furiously trying to find time to bake and make and eat every fresh apricot recipe I can think of: Apricot Puree, Apricot Souffle, Apricot Ice Cream, Apricot Pie...

Of course the squirrels often get to them first - taking a single ruinous bite out of each one just as it begins to develop that irresistible sun-ripened rosy blush. In years past, we had our faithful dogs to assist in combating the varmints. They somehow knew (well, one of them did) to guard that tree when it mattered and we didn't even have to ask. Without their help this year, we were forced to take preemptive measures. We had the wires removed that served as a "Squirrel Highway" over the top of the tree and we wrapped sheet metal around the base so the little critters couldn't clamber up as easily from the ground. These measures haven't been foolproof, but seemed to help. Still, we really miss our dogs (and that has very little to do with apricot season).

I hope you were able to guess that that is not Island Boy in the second photo. You may not have guessed that the photo of the pie was not taken at our house. We had an absolute blast visiting the home of our "guest pickers" for an impromptu baking party where we made this beauty. And yes, it was delicious!

Island Boy has had a glorious week parked under the apricot tree or in our kitchen enjoying one of the best things about living where we do. It is no wonder that he quickly learned to say the complicated word, "Apricot" - very, very clearly and with great enthusiasm!! Ah, yet another reason why we are sad to see another apricot season come to a close...

p.s. If you've got a favorite fresh apricot recipe to share, please let me know...there's always next year!

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