Though some will argue the apricot’s place of origin–China, Persia, India, or Armenia–there’s no denying the worldwide appeal of the tangy flavor packed in this little fruit. Now widely grown in the Americas, apricots make a healthy and versatile food choice, great for cooking, as well as eating raw, sliced, baked and dried.
Apricots are a yellowish-orange fleshy fruit enclosed in an edible outer skin that is softly fuzzy. A serving size of 100 grams of fresh apricots provides you with several nutrients, most notably vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, and potassium. Apricots are naturally high in antioxidants, which protect our cells against environmental damage from sunlight, pollution, and toxins such as cigarette smoke. Antioxidants, along with the beta-carotene in apricots, may benefit your skin by lowering your risk of wrinkles and sunburn.
To get the most from an apricot, eat them while in season (June-early Fall), choose organic when possible, and wash the fruit to remove debris from the skin. When picking apricots, the skin should be uniform in texture, free from damage spots or cracks and not too hard or soft. You should be able to cut or bite into the fruit with ease.
Cooked or raw, apricots add a delicate tang to rice dishes, salads, fruit parfaits, and baked goods. They are an ideal snack to take along on a day spent outdoors. Dried apricots are a wonderful addition to granola, oatmeal, and fruit and nut mixes…plus, you can enjoy the dried fruit all year long. Ideally, look for dried apricots that are sulfite-free and sugar-free.