One of the best fruits to show up in late spring, early summer are apricots. They are such a neat fruit. Their flavor is so unusual, their texture so pleasing, their appearance so attractive (can you believe their color?), and their health value so incredible! This little gem is LOADED with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Yup, God knew what he was doin' when he made the apricot!

I've always thought certain fruits were nature's reward for our heroically enduring winter-apricots being at the top of the list. And since the season is upon us, I went onto the Internet looking for the best-of-the-best apricot recipes. The Apricot Producers of California site (https://apricotproducers.com) came up first, and over and over again. It's a very helpful site with some wonderful recipes.

One recipe I pulled off this great site has turned out to be a family and neighborhood favorite. If you like hosting brunches, this dish is perfect. It's become a standard at our neighborhood “Welcome to Spring” brunch. It takes about 15 minutes to make and needs 45 minutes to bake. Sweet and nutritious with Vitamin A-rich apricots and heart-healthy oats, this breakfast cake freezes well and also makes a terrific snack.

Apricot Oatmeal Breakfast Cake

Serving size: 1
Calories per serving: 3,870


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oats quick or old-fashioned, uncooked
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 (15 1/4-ounce) cans apricot drained well, chopped (approximately 2 cups)
confectioners' sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-x-13-inch cake pan or coat pan with cooking spray; set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. Slowly add the white sugar and brown sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time; beat until smooth. Add dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir in apricots; do not over-mix. Pour the cake batter into prepared pan.

Bake the cake about 35-45 minutes, until done and golden brown on top. When cool, sprinkle the top of the cake with confectioners' sugar.

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Another delicious use for apricots is to substitute them for the pineapple in pineapple upside down cake. The end result is pretty and really delicious.

But not only do apricots bake up well, they make an excellent drink. Apricot nectar is good and good for you. I've made it by cooking a large pot of apricot halves in a little water (or sometimes orange or apple juice), until the fruit is soft and mushy. Then I would puree it (skins and all) in my Vitamix. From there, the hot liquid would go into quart jars and I'd process them for 45 minutes.

Other times I'd just home can my apricots and then later, during the winter, pour the fruit, liquid and all, into our blender to make a nectar. It works either way.

Finally, apricots are scrumptious in oatmeal...fresh or canned. If using fresh, just diced them and mix them in with your raisins, nuts, and a smidge of nutmeg. Talk about a tasty way to get a vitamin A boost! If using canned apricots, we add them into the cooked cereal just prior to serving. They add a surprising flavor and very pleasing texture.

  •   https://apricotproducers.com
  •   www.morselsandsauces.com

    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
    Email the author! alice@dvo.com

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