Apricots are among the same species as prunes but are quiet different in flavor and appearance. These bright, orange fruits are fuzzy and carry a sweet aroma. Apricots are rich in nutrients that are particularly important for developing and maintaining healthy eyes.
Anemia (iron dependent)
Disorders of the skin and mucosa
Alkalizing effect: Due to the rich alkaline mineral salts, high potassium levels, and low sodium levels, apricots have a high alkalizing affect on the body, which reduces the risk of developing a number of physical problems and diseases.
Eye health: Apricots help maintain good vision, a key characteristic that indicates good health. This is not exclusively due to the vitamin A, but is in combination with the other minerals and vitamins present in apricots. Apricots are recommended in treating conjunctival dryness, chronic irritation, loss of visual acuity due to retinal atrophy, and night blindness.
Anemia: Even though apricots don’t contain high levels of iron, the high vitamin C content in apricots aid in the absorption of iron.
Skin health: Due to their pro-vitamin A content, apricots may aid in disorders of the skin and mucosa. Apricots increase resistance to infections and are recommended for chronic pharyngitis, sinusitis, and eczema.
Digestive disorders: Fresh, ripe apricots are slightly astringent, while dried apricots serve as a laxative.
Good Source of:
Vitamin A, C, potassium
Purchasing, storing & enjoying:
Purchasing: Look for firm and richly colored apricots. Small apricots tend to be the tastiest. They should be plump in appearance and have a deep orange or yellow/orange color with a tint of red. Avoid apricots that have blemishes and bruises unless using them to make a sauce or baked good. Apricots’ peak season is from May to early July.
Storing: If the fruit are still unripened and hard, place them in a paper or plastic bag with other fruit in a cool and dry place. The ripening process should take 2-3 days. Most fruit release ethylene gas, a natural hormone that speeds the ripening process. Already ripened apricots should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight plastic bag and should be consumed as soon as possible.
Enjoying: While their peak season is during the summer, dried apricots and marmalade allow them to be enjoyed throughout the year.
- Enjoy fresh apricots to top salads or rice dishes. They add a pleasantly sweet flavor that will go unnoticed.
- Overripened apricots can also be used in dishes that require moisture such as baked goods.
Apricots must be eaten ripe. They are quite indigestible when green.
Caution: The industrial drying process used for apricots frequently use sulfites as preservatives. This additive may provoke asthma attacks in allergic individuals.
Resources & recipes:
Apricot pasta salad: http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/salads/apricot-pasta-salad/
Apricot squares: http://www.beyondthepeel.net/2012/07/apricot-squares-df-gf-sugar-free-soy-free-vegan-raw-options.html
Apricot ginger frosty: http://www.godairyfree.org/recipes/fresh-apricot-recipe-ginger-frosty
Wild rice salad with pistachios and curried apricot dressing: http://www.exploitsofaveganwannabe.com/2011/06/615-fresh-apricots/
Jacques PF, Chylack LT. Epidemiologic evidence of a role for the antioxidant vitamins and carotenoids in cataract prevention. Am J Clin Nutr 1991;53:352S-5S. 1991.
Wills RB, Scriven FM, Greenfield H. Nutrient composition of stone fruit (Prunus spp.) cultivars: apricot, cherry, nectarine, peach and plum. J Sci Food Agric 1983 Dec;34(12):1383-9. 1983. PMID:16280.
Wood, Rebecca. The Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Prentice-Hall Press; 1988. 1988. PMID:15220.