Here Comes the Sun
By Fiona Breslin
Perhaps it’s no accident that summer apricots bear some resemblance to that season’s bright heavenly body. The sun-colored stone fruit boasts a cheerful, summery appearance, while also supplying a variety of nutrients supportive of good health.
A single apricot provides 13% of the daily-recommended dosage of vitamin A and 6% of vitamin C. The fruits also contain fiber and are an excellent source of the antioxidant beta-carotene, the compound that gives them their yellow-orange hue. The American Institute for Cancer Research reports that beta-carotene may help protect against the risk of oral and lung cancers. Foods high in this phytochemical may also help slow the growth of existing cancer cells. Apricots have been used in natural medicine to aid digestion, hydrate the body, and reduce fever.
Purchase fresh apricots from your local greenmarket when they’re in season. Look for apricots that feel slightly firm in consistency and dense in weight. When ripe, apricots have a noticeably vibrant color and fragrance.
Nothing beats a raw, fresh apricot, but they can also be cooked, canned, dried, and prepared in a variety of ways. Apricots make great jams, tarts, and sorbet. Dried apricots can also be a great snack, are available year-round, and are a perfect addition to Rice Pudding. Canned apricots are perfect for making our Apricot Almond Cake or the English classic Steamed Apricot Pudding. Remember that a quarter cup of dried fruit is equal in calories and sugar to a cup or more of fresh fruit.
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