Apricots: My Precious… Golden Apple

Referred to as “golden apple” in Greek mythology and meaning “precious” in Latin, apricots deserve way more glory than they receive. Often overshadowed by their fuzzy cousin, the peach, a fresh apricot has only 17 calories, 3 grams of sugar, and almost 1 gram of fiber.  What a find!  They are also high in potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C to boot, making this precious fruit an ideal low-calorie summer snack! 

But before you reach for that package of dried apricots, I would encourage fresh fruit whenever possible because the fresh stuff contains significantly less sugar per serving.  Dried fruit can be coated in a preservative, sulfite or sulfur dioxide, to maintain a bright color; many people have an intolerance to this preservative, experiencing head fog or head aches, wheezing, hives, and in some cases, anaphylaxis.

How to Pick

Apricots are easy to choose because they aren’t shy about showing signs of ripeness.  Fresh apricots are a bright orange-gold color and slightly soft.  They let off a  strong, sweet smell when they’re to ready to eat.  Avoid pale yellow or tinted green ones as they’re not quite ripe, and wrinkly apricots have gone bad.

How to Store

Keep in the refrigerator to avoid over-ripening.  You can also preserve apricots in the freezer.  If you purchase unripe apricots that are still hard, place them in a paper bag to speed up the ripening process.  Just remember to check on them daily to evaluate whether or not they are ready to eat; they should take about two or three days.

When to Buy

Did you know that 90-95% of the world’s apricots are grown right in California? They have a very short season, but you can find them at their freshest from mid-May to mid-August, so get them while you still can.

Here are a few recipes to try:

  • Goat Cheese Stuffed Apricots with Honey and Pecans by from Domestic Fits
  • Grilled Apricot Halves on a bed of salad. Yum. My favorite! Check out this recipe on Cooking Light.
  • Fruit Kebabs! Made with fresh or dried apricots, grapes, and any type of berry. Both kid and adult approved.

Have you gotten your apricot fix this Summer?

Co-written by Alanna Cabrero, MS, RD, CDN and Debi Zvi, RD, CDN
Edited by Tamara Cabrero