Blenheim apricots


The best thing about coming home from this trip–besides seeing my kitty Ella, of course–is getting back in time for tiny Blenheim apricots.  They are a specialty of the Bay Area, and their season is so short you blink and they go *poof*. 

The blenheims are an old-fashioned kind of apricots that are getting increasingly hard to find.  Fewer and fewer farmers grow them every year.  The reason for the diminishing supplies is definitely not the taste, which is just heavenly, but more because they are ever so delicate.  Just look at them funny and they bruise, we like to say.

In the world where everything has to look blemish-free and perfectly formed, these bruised babies hardly have a place.  As for me, I just adore the freckled imperfection and ther sweet, fragrant flesh.  They are tiny, and they taste like you take normal size apricots and miniaturize them, intensifying the flavor.  I don’t mind the bruises here and there, they make them even sweeter I say.  The Blenheims don’t last very long off the trees, nor after they are bought at the market, but somehow that’s never been a problem for me either.  They are usually gone the same afternoon.

If you’re in Bay Area, or just happen to find yourself here right now, look out for them at the farmers market.  You’ll thank me later.

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  • JB in San Diego

    Pim, I just started reading your blog and am enjoying it very much, thank you.
    This post made me realize that the single biggest benefit I have gotten from starting to read food blogs is an awareness of seasonality. I didn’t grow up in tune with it, but now I see my various bloggers (it is easy for us blog readers – bleaders? – to get possessive) all writing about peaches and apricots and offering recipes and I go to the market and make a great seasonal meal.
    Thanks again!

  • Jenna

    My grandparents grow these in their garden, and some years I have been lucky enough to be in California at just the right time. You are right- they taste amazing.

  • Diane

    I am trying to eat more raw and less cooked food… this article has helped open up a new world of fruits I never new about — thank you

  • nutmac

    Yum! I get ‘em whenever I see ‘em, but those darn sticker labels! It is nearly impossible to get stickers off of apricots without damaging their delicate skin.

  • Rebecca

    Lovely! They look–and sound delicious! Beautiful photo.

  • Sarah

    I love farmers markets! I just saw a video that tells you how pesticides may even be contributing to the obesity epidemic. I’m buying organic from now on!

  • susan

    hi pim,
    i had a cat named ella when i was little! :)

  • Walt N

    So sad that what is now Silicon Valley bedroom communities used to be the apricot capital of the world, and the variety of choice was Blenheim. There are still a handful of the old trees around, and if you head south to the Morgan Hill area, the occasional farm still grows them. Heavenly!

  • Ellen Rigsby

    I am so glad you posted this. I saw them the next morning in the store, and I would have over-looked them for the bruises if your blog didn’t warn us. The rich, honey taste was a delight.

  • Jimmy-in-Seattle

    Pimmy – I just read this story. It really got to me… I’m fourth generation from the Bay Area. We had a Blenheim orchard in Atherton when I was a kid. Use to eat ‘em right off the tree. I think I’m part Apricot……”Walt N.” has it totally right. I remember.

  • jennifer

    i tried these for the first time this year.
    i live in brooklyn and the this year we had a very mild spring, so I had the pleasure of eating blenheim apricots two whole weeks in a row.
    they have such a delicate perfumey flavor.

  • kevin

    I grew up in South Carolina where the climate isn’t right for apricots. (Peaches are our big stone fruit.) But now that I live in LA where we get them for a few weeks in June, I think Blenheims are the absolute pinnacle of the annual fruit cycle. i’ve put up about 25 pounds this year, finishing over the weekend with a batch of apricot butter. Postings for my basic jam recipe as well as the results from several flavor experiments are here:
    Hope you home canners in Northern California get a few more weeks of Blenheims!

  • Hannah H.

    I made a galette with those yesterday! I had no idea–but my apricot tree is Blenheim!

  • bella

    I have these thing at my house they are wonderful and i had no idea they were tiny apricot until now! I always thought that they were just plums or something.

  • tasteofbeirut

    These apricots are the ones we make apricot jam with in Lebanon, enough jam to last the whole yea; the jam is cooked at the end under the sun. Heavenly. The apricots are so fragrant it is heady.