Canning and Preserving Herbs: Apricots with Anisette and Fennel

| August/September 1995

Makes 2 quarts

The lushness of apricots combined with the fennel and anise-flavored liqueur creates an elegant winter dessert. Cinnamon basil and cinnamon liqueur make a spicy alternative. Serve the whole apricots in a footed dish, perhaps embellished with crème fraîche or mascarpone, a creamy dessert cheese, and plain butter or sugar cookies.

• 3 pounds fresh apricots
• 2 1/2 cups water
• 1/2 cup anisette
• 2 cups sugar
• 4 six-inch sprigs fresh green or bronze ­fennel

1. Prepare the jars, lids, and boiling-water bath.

2. Wash and dry the apricots, then prick each one several times with a toothpick or skewer. Combine the water, anisette, and sugar in a pan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture boils and the sugar is dissolved. Add the apricots and simmer for 3 minutes. Fill each hot, dry jar with the fruit and two fennel sprigs, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Pour the hot liquid over the fruit until just covered. Wipe the rims with a clean towel and attach the lids securely. Place the jars in the boiling-water bath, and when the water returns to a boil, process for 25 minutes.

3. Remove the jars, cool, label, and store.

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