The winter apricot tree is bare and there isn’t much to do, other than pruning. We watch and wait, and in the spring its smooth, mahogany colored branches begin to bud. A few leaves poke out, then the blossoms burst forth smelling strongly of sandalwood, bees buzzing from flower to flower, pollen baskets full and fuzzy.
As the days grow longer, tiny green fruit appear, dressed in the flowers’ remains. They grow slowly until all at once they’re ripe. Squirrels feast on them, birds peck at them and I spread a cloth under the tree and shake its branches, hoping to get more of the harvest than the freeloaders in my garden.
Apricots ripen nicely on the kitchen counter, their fruity aroma intoxicating us for a few days. We eat as many as we can, then pack the rest into jars with sugar and spice so we can have the warm spring flavor in the winter months that are sure to follow.
Cottage Industry Apricot Butter is available in limited quantities and only for a short time. Made with fresh Blenheim and Royal apricots from local pesticide-free orchards, each batch is lovingly coaxed into perfection, bottled and labeled and ready to grace your morning table.