I WAS HEADING SOUTH TO SEVILLE AND HAD PROMISED TO SEE MY AUNTY ANDREA WHO LIVES ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF MADRID. I COULD SMELL LUNCH FROM THE LIFT-WELL ON THE BOTTOM FLOOR OF HER BLOCK OF FLATS. SHE GREETED ME WITH THE USUAL AFFECTION AND SCANNED ME WITH HER ONE GOOD EYE. SHE KNEW SHE COULD KEEP ME THERE AS LONG AS SHE LADLED OUT THE COCIDO, THE RICH CHICKEN STOCK FLAVOURED WITH JAMÓN, AROMATIC CHICKPEAS, THE MEATS AND SAUSAGES. I WOULD HAVE GONE STRAIGHT AFTER LUNCH HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR HER APRICOTS. LIKE SO MANY OTHER SPANISH HOUSEWIVES SHE HAS TINS — OR EVEN BETTER, JARS — OF APRICOTS, EITHER BOUGHT OR HANDMADE, SITTING ON THE SHELF PRESERVED IN A LIGHT SUGAR SYRUP. ACROSS THE NATION HOUSEWIVES BOTTLE THEIR FRUIT, ESPECIALLY IN THE RURAL PARTS. HERE IS A GOOD RECIPE TO MAKE THE MOST OF THE BEST FRUIT OF THE SEASON.
Clean and sterilise two
Place the sugar and
Rinse the apricots, place them in the jars and pour in the cooled syrup. Place a small plastic insert over the apricots to keep them submerged, then seal the jars.
Place an old plate on the bottom of a large heavy-based saucepan so the jars are not in direct contact with the base of the pan. Place the jars on the plate and transfer to the stovetop. Fill with enough cold water to cover the jars, then turn the heat to high. When the temperature reaches 90°C (195°F), reduce the heat and adjust it to keep the temperature at roughly 90°C (195°F) for 30 minutes.
Carefully remove the jars from the water and allow to cool. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months. Once opened, the apricots will keep, refrigerated, for 1 week.
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