As Middle Eastern cooking comes more and more into focus, we find apricots in new and tasty places. This small, interesting fruit is powerfully nutritious, mysteriously sweet yet tart and craftily bring a musky flavor to mind. Buy them fresh, canned, frozen, pureed, dried or apricot nectar. Apricots are related to peaches and plums, but they are in an interesting league of their own.
Discovered 4000 years ago in China, apricots then made their way to Persia/Iran and the Mediterranean. The Spaniards brought them to the New World and especially to California and its favorable soils late in the 18th Century. By 1920 California’s San Joaquin Valley was the established agricultural center of the California apricot industry.
Nutritionally, California apricots are a powerful source of disease fighting anti-oxidants and are one of the healthiest and most beneficial fruits available. They are rich in beta-carotene, Vitamins A and C, potassium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, copper, lycopene,
Most parts of the country rely on dried apricots. They are sold in halves and are a darker shade of orange. They have an interesting tartness.
Fresh, ripe apricots, when available, should be plump, firm, bruise-free and have a pleasant aroma. Their color should be a golden orange. Ripe apricots should be refrigerated.
- Any recipe you would use raisins or blueberries in
- Chicken and vegetable stews
- Hot cereals
- Ice cream, sherbets
- Jam, butters, yogurt
- Pancakes, waffles, muffins
- Pies, cobblers
- Stir fry