The beautifully blushed fruit with a velvety coat and tender sweet flesh hails the height of summer.
With a temperate climate that is relatively mild all year round, yet lacking intense heat to speed up the ripening process, British fruit is typically more hardy. However, with temperatures generally on the rise, and with British growers becoming ever-more savvy, the range of available fruits is always increasing.
Delicate and exotic fruits, sweetened rapidly by the sun, can often take a little more nurturing, but this has not stopped British fruit farmers from cultivating oversee varieties on home turf.
Making use of all the summer sun to ensure the fruit reaches full maturity, the British apricot season is typically from late June to September. Vibrant orange in colour, and blushing with a hint of red when ripened, an apricot’s flesh softens beautifully through the cooking process, and develops in flavour, enhancing both sweet and savoury dishes.
As they are not overly juicy and release very little liquid during cooking, apricots are perfect for baking, especially for adding to pies and tarts whilst avoiding the ominous ‘soggy bottom’, as well as fantastic on the barbecue.
It’s not just apricots we should be enjoying in the summer, we have top tips for grilling all seasonal stoned fruits on the barbecue:
NOT TOO RIPE
All the fruit should be tender and sweet, and are best grilled slightly firm so they hold form on the grill. The heat will caramelise the fruit’s sugars and weaken the structure so an overripe fruit will fall apart.
BIGGER IS BETTER
Slice and chop your fruit into large pieces to avoid them from falling between the bars on the grill. This will also help you to get a good caramelisation on the outside whilst retaining a good texture in the middle.
SELECT YOUR OIL CAREFULLY
Make sure you brush your fruit with oil that can cope at high temperatures, and with a flavour that is not going to mask the fruit’s beautiful flavours. Melted unsalted butter also works well.
Leave your oiled fruit on the grill, untouched, for approximately 3 minutes. This will help it to take on good grill marks and keep its structure. When the fruit comes away from the grill fairly easily using tongs, it is ready for turning.
NOT JUST SWEET
Grill your fruit not only for sweet dishes, but pair with savoury ingredients too. Peaches work great alongside pork chops or chicken, plums with grilled halloumi and nectarines with blue cheese and prosciutto.