The apricot is often overlooked in favor of other common fruits such as the apple, pear, orange or banana. But the apricot is just as healthy as those other fruits, in some cases even healthier. Apricots are those beautifully orange colored fruits full of beta-carotene and fiber that are one of the first signs of summer. Although dried and canned apricots are available year-round, fresh apricots with a plentiful supply of vitamin C and are in season from May through August. Relatives to peaches, apricots are small, golden orange fruits, with velvety skin and flesh, not too juicy but definitely smooth and sweet. Some describe their flavor as almost musky, with a faint tartness that lies somewhere between a peach and a plum. The slightly tart fruit is versatile, able to be used in a vast number of ways and recipes or just enjoyed fresh right off the fruit stand. Many consumers enjoy apricots as a dried fruit.
The main traded apricot product is dried apricot. Dried apricots last longer and can be easily packed away as a snack for dieters on the go. Consumed as dried fruit, the apricot has even more nutritional benefits than its fresh counterpart. Fitting fresh or dried apricots into your diet plan as much as possible will be beneficial to your health and your weight.
Apricots have been cultivated in Persia since antiquity, and dried ones were an important commodity on Persian trade routes. Apricots remain an important fruit in modern-day Iran.
Harvest time is determined with respect to the type of apricot, the altitude at which it is grown, due to the ripening, the getting yellow of its color, its softening and getting sweet and juicy.
Fresh apricots are an excellent source of Vitamins A, C, E, potassium, and iron, as well as being a great source of beta-carotene. In fact, 2-3 apricots will give you nearly 50% of your daily value of Vitamin A. Apricots contain no fat and a small number of carbs (about 8 gr of carbs for two apricots, 2 of those being from dietary fiber). The variety of nutrients found in apricots are very beneficial for good eyesight and also help to prevent heart disease and other ailments. Apricots are also rich in powerful antioxidants, such as Lycopene, helping to promote wellness and strengthen the immune system. The healthy fruits are also a good source of fiber, beneficial for healthy digestion. Dried apricots have an even higher concentration of vitamins and nutrients, but are also slightly higher in carbs. Dried apricots are a good source of vitamin A, iron and sugar, and where they are in abundance, the processing can provide valuable income-generating opportunities. Apricots can be enjoyed in cakes and pies, with ice cream or sorbets and yogurt, as a jam or jelly, used as a sauce or as a fruit topping for salads, cereal, pancakes, and other foods. Dried apricots normally do not have any sugar added and have a low glycemic index. The maximum moisture rate allowed is 25% When treated with sulfur dioxide (SO2) in order to help preserve their shelf life and bright coloring, the color is vivid orange. Organic fruit not treated with sulfur vapor is darker in color and has a coarser texture. Generally, the lighter the color, the higher the SO2 content. Light-colored varieties (with the sulfur content of more than 2000 ppm) are banned in the European Union.
The methods of drying apricots vary from simple sun drying through solar drying to large-scale artificial dryers. The traditional sun drying of apricots involves destining the fruit and placing it on flat rocks reinforced concrete for approximately six to nine days. After the initial drying, the fruits are pitted, shaped and returned to the drying area until their water content drops to below 25%. This produces a dried fruit with an uneven dark brown color and a tough, texture and the taste is different in comparison to using sulfur dioxide for drying. Since there are no sulfur treatments in natural drying, fruits brown because of enzyme activity. The naturally dried fruits must be kept refrigerated because they can deteriorate quickly under room temperature.
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is normally added to the fruit as a preservative and to give the dried product a brighter orange color. This kind is very sweet with orange color. Sulfur is added to whole dried apricot in order to preserve the natural color, prevent the product from being infested with bugs, and increase the preservation period. Sulfur fumigation is a hygienic, low-cost preservation technique, that maintains the color of the food.
Types of Dried Apricots
- Sulphured dried apricots (Orange color)
- Natural dried apricots (Dark brown color)
- Organic dried apricots (Dark brown color)
Each type comes in 2 shapes:
Thanks to their size, Jumbo apricots are really large, plump and chewy with a naturally sweet taste. Perfect for last-minute desserts. Freeze extras for future festivities.
Slab Apricots are harvested at their very ripest point. This ripeness makes them so soft, juicy and sweet that they cannot hold their shape. All the old-timers know that slabs are the extra-ripe, fullest-of-sweetness kind of dried apricot. Usually hand-cut and when placed on a flat surface. Slab apricots are perfect for lunch boxes and as a snack out on the golf course.
Dried Apricot Technical Quality
|Color||Red, Dark Red|
|Drying Process||Air Dry, Sun Dry|
|Packaging Size||7~8 Kg Carton Boxes|