Apricots are cute and petite. They have a slightly oblong shape and smooth velvety skin. They are members of the rose family and are close cousins with plums, almonds, and peaches. The ancient Greeks believed that apricots originate from Armenia, so the botanical name for this cute little fruit is Prunus armeniaca. There are several varieties of apricots, all of them having unique properties, and they are all edible.
Apricots are very similar to peaches, you can tell them apart by their taste, but if you hadn’t had a taste of these two fruits before, you should know that apricots are generally smaller than peaches, and they have fuzz on their skin. This way, you can tell them apart before taking a bite.
What do apricots taste like? Apricots can be sweet, but they are generally tart. Apricots can be watery, but not as watery as watermelon; they are juicy and fleshy and have a more prominent taste than peaches and nectarines.
Apricots are also regarded as stone fruits, due to their small size, you can pop a handful into your mouth, but watch it with the seeds. You might not like the tartness on your first try, but it only gets better, leaving you wishing for more.
Nutritional Benefits of Apricots
Apricots offer few calories but do not compromise on nutrients. Two average apricots make up about 70 grams and all you get from that is a calorie count of 34. You also have a gram of protein, 8 percent of the daily value for vitamin A and C, 4 percent of the daily value for vitamin E and potassium, 1.5 grams of fiber, 8 grams of carbs, and a negligible amount of fat.
The best about this fruit would be its store of beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein, which are all strong antioxidants that are capable of doing wonders for the body.
Antioxidants keep the body from being vulnerable to diseases by protecting cells in the body from the adverse effect of free radicals. Apricots have also been shown to contain high amounts of antioxidants called flavonoids. These polyphenol antioxidants can protect the body against diabetes, everyday illnesses, and heart-related diseases.
To get the full package of health benefits from apricots, it is best to eat them without peeling off the skin. That is after you have washed it thoroughly to get rid of the dirt that could be trapped in the fuzzy skin. The skin is also a very good source of nutrients, especially fiber.
Apricots may be able to help your eye health, they contain vitamins A, C, and E. Vitamin A has a reputation for helping to prevent night blindness, which is caused as a result of a lack of light pigments in the eyes.
Vitamin E acts as a fat-soluble antioxidant that enters the eyes directly to protect the cells in there from damage by free radicals. The combined effects of vitamins C and E could help skin health. Eating apricots can help fight off the effects of sunburn and UV rays, reducing the risk of melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer.
The potassium in apricots helps to regulate blood pressure and helps with fluid balance in the body. Eating these cute fruits could also help promote gut health, maintain blood sugar levels, regulate the body’s temperature, and protect the liver.
Culinary Uses of Apricots
Apricots are always ready to eat, the same way you sink your teeth into apples, you can have these beauties. You could slice them for use in a fruit salad, or remove the seeds and blend it into a smoothie. Apricots can be used to make jam with the addition of honey and lemon juice. This apricot jam can then be used in any manner you deem appropriate. In the apricot glazed chicken recipe, apricot jam is used to help you infuse the flavor and taste of fruits into a meaty dish. The jam is also used in apricot wild rice stuffing.
If you are going to cook apricots, it might not be a great idea to leave the skins on them. Due to their small size, trying to peel the skin off could be a hellish chore, but there is a way around this debacle. Boiling apricots quickly in water is a great way to get the skin off, it just slides off the body of the fruit. If you want to eat apricots as they are, do not employ this method to try to get the skin off as it would ruin the texture of the fruit.
Where are apricots from? Where can you procure them?
Apricots have been cultivated for so long in Armenia that it is easy to believe that they are native to that region. But research has shown that apricots might be native to Central Asia and China. It was domesticated there before it spread to South Asia, then West Asia, before spreading to Armenia, Europe, North Africa, and finally Japan. Apricots can withstand cold climates better than peaches, but they are affected by spring frosts, the flowers tend to bud early in March, and the spring frost kills the flowers.
Turkey is the largest producer of apricots in the world, producing close to 1 million tonnes in 2019 alone. It is followed by Uzbekistan, Iran, Italy, and Algeria in that order. Apricots are usually available in late spring till summer. You can buy dried apricots online, or buy fresh ones from grocery stores when they are in season.
Do Apricots Taste Like an Orange?
Apricots have golden orange skin and a sweet-tangy taste that tastes like a cross between a plum and a peach. The only similarities apricots share with oranges would probably be the color of their skin.
Facts You Don’t Know About Apricots
- The edible kernel in the pit of apricots is sometimes used as an amaretto flavoring agent because of its strong bitter almond taste.