I’ve been thinking lately (which my parents refer to as “dangerous”) about what it means to relax. I’ve had many conversations with friends, family, coworkers about how relaxing is not the same for everyone. My roommate relaxes by playing video games whereas I relax by cooking or crafting. Making things, to me, is the ultimate recharge of the mind as it requires mental skill with physical finesse in a more contained, limited capacity. Being able to relax in my own unique way is essential to my happiness and wellbeing; not finding a way to relax, however, causes me incredible distress. More importantly, and sadly, I’ve realized that when I am most stressed and stretched thin by life, the first things to go usually tend to be the ones that most bring me back to Earth.
Which is why this Spring and Summer Season is bringing me back to one of the things I enjoy doing most – cooking. As we come out of Winter and hibernation back into sunlight and warmth, I plan to cook accordingly. In my cooking, I hope to bring in as many fresh ingredients as possible, to cook simply and healthfully, and to have fun.
I find that every Summer is an opportunity for adventure. The days grow longer, the weather improves (hopefully), and the air is alive with electric energy. Almost perfectly in conjunction with this increase in spontaneity and exuberance comes a revival of the best fruit seasons of the year – Spring and Summer. Juicy Apricots, luscious cherries, tart grapes, and crunchy watermelon pop up in every grocery store in the city. Every few steps there is another delicious looking stand of produce, sitting there and begging to be made into something phenomenal.
Which is where Apricot Cherry Jam comes in. From overzealous buying of fruits comes the inevitable lament of realizing that you bought too much darn fruit. Which is why we figure out how to make use of the over-ripening offenders, such as making delicious compotes and jams for storage and future enjoyment.
- Apricots, pitted (approx 20)
- Cherries, pitted (approx 1 lb)
- 2 tbspn honey
- 1 Lemon
- 1.5 tbspn Corn Starch
Start by preparing your fruit. This means washing, pitting, and cutting it down to smaller pieces. Although the fruit will eventually reduce down as it cooks and its juices meld with the other fruits, I recommend smaller pieces where possible to help the process along.
Place all of the cut pieces of fruit in a medium sauce pan and put on medium heat. Squeeze half of the lemon over the fruit, add the 2 tablespoons of honey, and stir gently to mix. Please know that I did not want to over-sweeten this, instead wanting the natural sugars in the fruit to take care of all of the sweetness, so I only added 2 tablespoons of honey. However, if you generally like your compote sweeter, consider adding more! Cover the fruit and let simmer down for about 5 minutes. Watch the pot to make sure that nothing burns!
After the 5 minute mark, you should see that the fruits have stewed and created a delicious looking “soup” mixture in your pot. Go ahead and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes, or until the fruits are broken down and have lost their structure. Stir occasionally to allow the fruit to move around the heat of the pot and mix together.
Once your fruit is broken down and has mixed well, remove from heat and stir. Add in your corn starch, stir, and let cool.
After letting the compote cool, spoon carefully into your container of choice (I choose mason jars because I live in San Francisco and that’s practically the official beverage vehicle of the city). Seal tightly, admire, and store as you choose! Or just open back up and spoon on your waffles/oatmeal/ice cream/cake/chicken/pork/straight into your mouth. Whatever/whenever/wherever this recipe finds you, I hope it brings you relaxation and renewal for this Spring Season.