I look forward to summer for the stone-fruit and berries being added to our meals, cooking and snacks. In addition to a seemingly endless abundance of tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini and cucumber that are part of our summer kitchen garden harvests from January, these are the (food) things that make summer special. We regularly pick our own berries to make jam for the year. This year, we are taking a break a little earlier than usual and so will not get to do this until the new year. This is not ideal as many families on school holiday have the same though at some point and the fruit can be low at this time. We will have to take our chances…..
We regularly shop at a local farmgate called Home Made Produce across the summer months for spray free produce that is predominantly sourced from local farms. This is the place we seek our fruit to put into the dehydrator, for jam, sauces and baking. Nectarines, peaches and strawberries feature on the “dirty dozen” list. This is a list that highlights the fruits and vegetables that consistently test high levels of chemical residue. While it is an American list, it can be assumed that the results would be similar here in Australia. You can read an action plan I wrote to avoid the dirty dozen here. It is important to me that I use this knowledge to avoid unnecessary exposure to chemical residue in our family food via eating from our own vegetable garden and accessing resources such as our local farmgate to source fresh food.
Last week I couldn’t resist these apricots, with a gorgeous pink blush. I took 10 kg! Plus a few peaches, nectarines and strawberries for good measure.
Ten kilos of fruit takes a little time to process! I made a couple of kilos of my apricot jam, dehydrated 5 trays for baking later in the year, made a few trays of apricot fruit wraps, some ice blocks for after school treats and also this recipe for apricot fruit loaf. Cut it thick and eat it warm with a little butter, heavenly.
There were also plenty to eat fresh across the week for school and work lunches and snacks
- Apricot filling
- 250 grams apricots - halved with stones removed
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla paste
- 30 grams butter
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
- 120 grams butter
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 and ½ cups self raising flour
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- ½ cup mixed dried fruit
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- ½ cup dried coconut flakes
- Heat the oven to 160 degrees
- Add the ingredients for the apricot filling to a saucepan on the stove top and gently heat, stir and cook at a low simmer for 5 minutes or until the apricots have softened. Remove from the heat and set aside
- Commence making the cake, add the butter (softened) and the sugar to a bowl and beat to combine well
- Add the egg and continue to mix until the mixture lightens in colour
- Add remaining ingredients and the cooked apricot mixture and stir well to combine
- Line a loaf or cake pan with baking paper or grease well and add the mixture to the pan
- Place into the heated oven and cook for 40 minutes. Test for readiness by pushing a knife or a skewer into the middle of the cake, if you can remove it clean, with no residue sticking the cake is ready. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes in the pan and then remove to cool
- If the cake has not cooked through at the time of testing for readiness return to the oven for another 5-8 minutes and test again until ready.
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