Fresh apricots are one of the loveliest gifts of summer but their season is incredibly short. Preserving them in a simple combination of brandy and sugar is an easy way to capture the sweetness to enjoy later in the year. Brandied apricots are wonderful served with simple cakes, on top of yogurt or ice cream, or on their own with a dollop of crème fraîche. Once the fruit is gone, you can use the remaining apricot-scented liqueur in cocktails. These jars will keep sealed for months in the refrigerator, but once opened, you should plan to consume them within two weeks.
Technique tips: If buying fruit or vegetables to preserve, opt for organic varieties that are free of pesticides. Choose slightly underripe apricots if you'd like them to retain their shape. Very ripe fruit will break down more in the syrup (though they will still be delicious!).
Swap options: Plums, peaches or cherries can be substituted for the apricots. Rum or bourbon can be substituted for the brandy.
Special equipment: Wide-mouth Mason jars with lids and rings in preferred sizes, sterilized.
Wash and dry apricots. Halve along the seam and remove the pits. Do not peel. Divide apricots into the sterilized jars along with any flavorings if using (vanilla bean pieces, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cloves).2.
Combine brandy, sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and whisk until sugar dissolves completely. Pour the brandy mixture into the jars with the apricots, making sure the fruit is completely covered with liquid.3.
Cover with lids but do not fully tighten until cooled. Once fully cooled to room temperature, tighten lids and refrigerate.