Apricots

 
Apricots originated from China, close to the Himalayan Mountains. They reached the West through the Greeks and the Romans, who spoke of them as ‘Armenian plums’, and, nowadays, the best apricots for drying come from California, Australia, Turkey and South Africa. 

If they are to be dried, once the apricots are stoned, they are left in the sun whole — without being halved — so that they become sweet and plump. Then, to avoid shrivelling they are put in the shade for another few days, where they are kept moist and sticky.  But, be careful, because some apricots are treated with sulphur dioxide before sun drying to enhance their colour and to prevent them from going mouldy. Look for unsulphured apricots, with the dark Turkish ones being the best to buy. 

Sun-drying apricots enhances their already exceptional nutritional value. Their high level of vitamin A (a serving of 100gm provides 580mg of vitamin A) makes them one of the best antioxidants, essential for maintaining a healthy skin, protecting against infections and boosting the immune system. Apricots are also the richest of all dried fruit in iron and provide good supplies of calcium, phosphorus, potassium and niacin (vital for energy production and brain function).

The mild flavoured and velvety textured apricot can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Soaked in fruit juice apricots can be eaten plain or mixed with cream or yoghurt. They can be sprinkled on fruit salads, mixed with other dried fruit or pureed as a base for mousses, cheesecakes and other desserts such as pies, tarts and crumbles. In the Middle East they are often added to spicy dishes of lamb and rice, and sliced they can be used to garnish gammon stakes or lamb chops for the last minutes of cooking. 

 



Nutrition Information

Typical valuesper 100g  
Energy 1009kJ 
     241kCal 
Proteins 3.4g7%*
Carbohydrate 62.6g48%*
    Total Sugars 53.4g 
Total Fat 0.5g 
    Saturated 0mg 
    Monounsaturated 0.1mg 
    Polyunsaturated 0.1mg 
Dietary Fibre 7.3g24%*
Sodium Trace  
Vitamin C 1mg3%*
Thiamin 0mg 
Niacin 2.6mg33%*
Riboflavin 0.1mg9%*
Vitamin B6 0.1mg5%*
Folate 10mcg5%*
Vitamin E 4.3mg43%*
VitA 3600IU120%*
Vit K 3.1mcg5%*
Calcium 55mg11%*
Iron 2.7mg23%*
Magnesium 32mg11%*
Zinc 0.4mg4%*
Manganese 0.2mg10%*
Selenium 2.2mcg4%*
*RDA
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