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Apricot, Northumbrian honey and vanilla compote

The cooked compote
The cooked compote

Blog: Got an apricot, plum, or nectarine fruit glut? Try this easy recipe – no experience needed!

One of the problems – or delights – of stone fruit (apricots, nectarines, plums, damsons) is that they all tend to ripen at once, leaving with a glut – more on dealing with that here.

You can’t eat them all fresh and they go off quickly. By all means, give them away but it’s great to be able to preserve the fruits of your labours to eat when shop prices are expensive.

However, jam-making means buying equipment, saving jars, etc and many people just aren’t comfortable with all of that malarkey (to be honest, I’ve tried, and only me eats it, so it’s a waste of time).

However, there is another way. Compotes aren’t as sweet as jam, they’re looser, need no special preserving gubbins and are very easy to make. They don’t keep as long but will store in the fridge for a couple of weeks and freeze excellently, so that’s what I do.

Apricots stoned and halved in the pan
Apricots stoned and halved in the pan

Easy and forgiving

This recipe is adaptable to most soft fruits and is very forgiving. I ended up using 7lb of fruit, which fitted into a large stockpot.

Increase or decrease quantities according to what you have and don’t be afraid to add more honey or sugar to taste. For more fruit compote recipes see here.

By happy chance, my friend Ian is a beekeeper in North Northumberland – you’ll find his honey under the Northumbrian Honey label (other kinds of honey are available, so don’t feel too bad if you can’t get any). To try his honey, call 07833-317399 or email i.robsonmrl@icloud.com.

Weights are approximate but keep the ratio of liquid to fruit the same, otherwise, it might burn or become too watery.


  • 7lbs/3kg apricots*
  • Approx 8oz/200g Northumbrian honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Zest of one lemon, peeled into large strips
  • Juice of one fresh lemon
  • 6.5fl oz/200ml water

*Whether the fruit is ripe or slightly unripe will affect how sweet the finished product is and how long it will take to cook. My apricots were still quite firm, so took longer.

Apricots, honey and lemon in the pan
Apricots, honey and lemon in the pan


Half the apricots and remove the stones and any bad areas and put them in a large pan as you work.

Add the honey, vanilla extract, lemon zest, lemon juice and water. Stir on medium-low heat until the apricots begin to release their juices.

Turn the heat up to medium and gently simmer the apricots, stirring occasionally, until they are very soft (leaving some bits a bit bigger gives a more interesting texture). As I had a large pan of slightly underripe fruit, mine took about 30 minutes to reach this stage – just use your common sense if yours cook more quickly.

Have a taste and add more honey if needed. You can remove the lemon zest if you want. Serve warm or cold and it will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge.

I leave mine to cool in the pan, then spoon it into small sauce/soup freezer bags and freeze it for my breakfast with granola and plain yoghurt.

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