Apricots are Awesome!
Though some will argue the place of origin of apricots–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, they 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. They 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, may benefit your skin by lowering your risk of wrinkles and sunburn. This fruit is a decent source of beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, all of which are potent antioxidants that help fight free radicals in your body.
The main flavonoids in apricots are chlorogenic acids, catechins, and quercetin. These compounds also work to neutralize free radicals, which are harmful compounds that damage your cells and cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is linked to obesity and many chronic diseases, such as heart disease. They are also a good source of soluble fiber, which feeds your healthy gut bacteria and may boost digestive health.
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, these little fuzzy fruits 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.