When buying these golden, fuzzy orbs, look for plump, fairly firm fruit with a uniform orange-yellow to orange color; green apricots will not ripen. Definitely give them a sniff: The best apricots will have a tempting aroma. Fully ripe fruit is soft to the touch and juicy, and should be eaten as soon as possible. Don’t buy apricots with cracked skin, and watch out for white spots, which indicate mold. Also, treat them gently; apricots bruise easily, and the bruising hastens spoiling. To prevent over-ripening, keep apricots cool in the fridge—they’ll stay fresh for up to a week. You can place hard apricots in a paper bag to let them ripen for a day or two.
Got it? Great! Let's move on to processing if you don't eat them all off the counter.
Curried Lentil and Apricot Salad with Arugula
1. Place the lentils in a medium saucepan with 3 cups water over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer, partially covered, for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape. Drain and transfer to a bowl.
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, oil, honey, curry powder, lemon peel, salt, and black pepper. Slice 3 apricots and toss in a bowl with 2 teaspoons of the lemon juice mixture. Cut the remaining apricot into 1/4" dice.
3. Add the diced apricot, bell pepper, scallions, cilantro, and 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice mixture to the lentils and toss well. Toss the arugula with 2 tablespoons of the dressing and arrange over a large serving platter. Top with the lentil mixture. Toss the sliced apricots with any remaining dressing and arrange around the lentil mixture.
Other ways to preserve:
Drying is a great way to preserve apricots. Just remove the pits and stick in a food dryer, set on low and let them dry for up to 24 hours. The best way to keep them fresh is to freeze them after drying to make sure they don't rehydrate with humidity.
Freezing is another easy way to save apricots for smoothies, pie, jam, or cobbler later in the year. Just slice in half, place on a cookie sheet, and let freeze overnight. Then store in freezer ziploc bags for the winter.
Apricot Blueberry Cobbler