Apricots are probably the most popular of the group of stone fruits in the Rosaceae family: genus, Prunus. This group includes peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries and almonds.
Apricot fruits dry very well, and this expands their use when fresh fruit is not available. Originating in Asia, apricots are now grown all over the world for the golden-orange sweet, tangy, fragrant and delicious fresh apricot fruits available in a short season.
Fresh, ripe apricots have firmer texture and a sweeter flavor than plums, that have a slightly bitter-tasting skin.
Apricots have outstanding nutritional values and provide many health benefits. When dried some of the vitamins are lost (especially Vitamin C), but the minerals, fiber and protein and many other nutrients are retained and concentrated. The energy content of dried apricots is five times that of fresh apricots.
This article summarizes the nutritional facts and health benefits for fresh and dried apricots.
See the many uses for apricots in sweet and savory dishes and a selection of the best ever recipes showcasing the potential of apricots as a healthy ingredient.
The nutrition facts for fresh and dried apricots is compared with peaches, plums and nectarines in the table at the end of the article
Fresh apricots have low calories with just 50 calories per 100 g, however dried apricots have 241 calories per 100g and should be used sparingly.
Apricots are a wonderful source of dietary fiber and protein, more than the other fruit. Dried apricots has 3 g of protein and 7 g of fiber per 100g.
Apricots are excellent sources of carotenes and vitamin-A with levels 5 times higher for the other fruit. A serving of 100 g fresh apricots has 1926 IU of Vitamin A, which is 64% of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin A. Carotene and Vitamin-A help the body maintain healthy eyes, skin and mucus membranes.
Fresh apricots have 10 mg of Vitamin C per 100 g, much higher than in the other fruit. However, it is important to note that most of this Vitamin C is lost when the fruit is dried (down to only 1 g/ 100 g of fruit). Vitamin C helps the body maintain resistance to infections agents and protects against harmful oxygen free radicals.
Apricots are a great source of many minerals including zinc, calcium, potassium, iron and manganese.
Apricots are a rich source of antioxidants with the total anti-oxidant power of raw apricots rated at 1115 umol Trolex equivalents/100 g, via poly phenolic compounds such as lutein, beta cryptoxanthin and zea xanthin
Buy fresh, just ripe fruits that have a rich aroma and a uniform golden-orange color. Firmer apricots are easier to cook with but have less flavor. Ripe apricots are delicate and need to be handled with care. You can refrigerate them but they lose flavor quickly with storage, Use apricots as soon as possible after buying them
Wash fresh apricots thoroughly in cold water and shake dry. Where possible include the whole fruit in recipes, including the skin. The seeds are very easy to remove.
below are a few recipes for you to try that use fresh apricots.
For the pastry:
For the filling:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease or spray the side and bottom of a 9 inch (23cm) fluted tart pan with removable base. Set aside. To make the pastry, combine the sugar and melted butter a large bowl using a wooden spoon. Add the remaining pastry ingredients and mix to form a soft, ball of dough. Place the dough into the buttered pan and spread it over the sides and base using your fingers. The pastry should be thin and oven. Place the pan on the center shelf of the oven and bake until the pastry has puffed up slightly and firmed (about 12-15 minutes). Spread the chopped almonds over the bottom of the crust to stop the crust getting soggy.
To make the filling, whisk the honey and cream together, then add the flour and whisk again. Pour the filling into the pastry and add the apricots in a spiral shape cut size up. Put the remaining apricots in the center. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is set and firm and the pastry is a golden to light brown color (45-60 minutes). You can expect the apricots to shrivel slightly. When cooked, remove from the oven and sprinkle with a dusting of icing sugar. Cool before serving warm.
Add the salt and pepper to a large dish and roll the chicken pieces in it, shaking off any excess. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large deep frying pan or dish using moderate heat. Add the chicken in small batches and fry for 2-3 minutes per side until top and bottom are golden brown. Remove the chicken pieces as each batch is cooked. Add the garlic and onion to the frying pan and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the Moroccan seasoning and fry for an extra minute. Add the fresh apricots and fry to soften slightly. Then add the apricot nectar, increase the temperature and bring to the boil, then lower to a simmer. Cover the pan with a lid or a piece of foil. Cook for 30-40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked and the sauce has thickened slightly. Place ina serving dish and sprinkle with chopped parsley or basil.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan or pot. Add the lamb pieces and fry over a medium to high heat in batches for about 3-4 minutes. The lamb should be evenly browned. Remove the lamb and set aside. Add the garlic and onion to the same pan (no need to wash), and soften the onions (about 5 minutes). Return the lamb to the pot and add the zest, stock, juice, honey, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 60 minutes. Then add the mint and apricots and simmer for another 30 minutes until the lamb is tender. Serve with extra mint and almonds on top of each serving.
|Nutrient Value per 100 g||Apricots||Dried Apricots||Peaches||Plums||Nectarines|
|Energy||50 Cal||241 Cal||39 Cal||46 Cal||44 Cal|
|Carbohydrates||11 g||62.64 g||9.54 g||11.42 g||10.55 g|
|Protein||1.4 g||3.39 g||0.91 g||0.70 g||1.06 g|
|Total Fat||0.4 g||0.51 g||0.25 g||0.28 g||0.32 g|
|Cholesterol||0 mg||0 mg||0 mg||0 mg||0 mg|
|Dietary Fiber||2 g||7.3 g||1.5 g||1.40 g||1.7 g|
|Folates||9 mcg||28 mg||4 mcg||5 mcg||5 mcg|
|Niacin||0.6 mg||2.58 mg||0.80 mg||0.42 mg||1.13 mg|
|Pantothenic acid||0.24 mg||0.34 mg||0.15 mg||0.13 mg||0.18 mg|
|Pyridoxine||0.05 mg||0.15 mg||0.03 mg||0.03 mg||0.03 mg|
|Riboflavin||0.04 mg||0.07 mg||0.03 mg||0.03 mg||0.03 mg|
|Thiamin||0.0 mg||0.02 mg||0.02 mg||0.03 mg||0.03 mg|
|Vitamin C||10 mg||1 mg||6.6 mg||9.5 mg||5.4 mg|
|Vitamin A||1926 IU||3604 IU||326 IU||345 IU||332 IU|
|Vitamin E||0 mg||4.33 mg||0.73 mg||0.26 mg||0.77 mg|
|Vitamin K||3.3 mcg||6.1 mcg||2.6 mcg||6.4 mcg||2.2 mcg|
|Sodium||1 mg||10 mg||0 mg||1 mg||0 mg|
|Potassium||259 mg||1162 mg||190 mg||157 mg||201 mg|
|Calcium||13 mg||55 mg||6 mg||6 mg||6 mg|
|Copper||0.07 mg||0.06 mg||0.09 mg|
|Iron||0.39 mg||2.66 mg||0.25 mg||0.17 mg||0.28 mg|
|Magnesium||10 mg||32 mg||9 mg||7 mg||9 mg|
|Manganese||0.08 mg||0.1 mg||0.61 mg||0.05 mg||0.54 mg|
|Phosphorus||23 mg||71 mg||11 mg||16 mg||26 mg|
|Zinc||0.2 mg||0.39 mg||0.17 mg||0.10 mg||0.17 mg|
|Carotene–alpha||19 mcg||38 mcg||19 mcg||162 mcg||190 mcg|
|Carotene-beta||1094 mcg||1038 mcg||1094 mcg||67 mcg||35 mcg|
|Lutein-zeaxanthin||89 mcg||178 mcg||91 mcg||73 mcg||130 mcg|