For several years, I have regularly ordered dried fruit from apricotking.com. I discovered them when looking for a source for dried pears, which were so good that I tried their other products. At the time, their site included pit-in dried apricots and slip-pits. In the latter case, the pit is removed after drying.. Apparentlly the typical dried apricot is halved and the pit removed before drying. I found that the pit-ins were spectacular, imbued with a stronger oaky, amaretto flavor than the slip-pits.
The slippies are available only sporadically, and the pit-ins are now not on the website at all. But the owner knows I like them, and e-mailed me last week to say they had some. I gleefully jumped on the opportunity, feeling like I knew the password to gain entry to a speakeasy. The order arrived looking different than I remembered. They were darker and a bit smaller, and when I tasted them, not as moist, though still with great flavor. Then I saw the note from the grower, which said these were made with very little sulphur so they needed to be refrigerated/frozen, and soaked in hot water for an hour, then drained, and kept in the fridge. I mistakenly soaked a bag for closer to 2 hours yesterday, and found the ones I took out of the fridge this morning to be a little TOO soft.
What's the science behind sulphuring, and why do they need to have cold storage even before soaking? Not knowing all this, I bought four 1.5# bags, and the owner very kindly included a fifth as a freebie. I am currently very short of fridge/freezer space, and this is enough fruit to last me at least through the end of the year. Not sure whether to follow that statement with a :-D or a :-(