MoonDragon's Nutrition Information
FOOD & NUTRIENT GUIDE: FRUITS
(Raw & Dried)
Scientific Name: Prunus armeniaca
Nutrition Basics: Apricot Herbal Information & Products
APRICOTS - A DESCRIPTION
Apricots are small, golden orange fruits, with velvety skin and flesh: not too juicy but definitely smooth and sweet. Their flavor is almost musky, with a faint tartness that is more pronounced when the fruit is dried. Some people think of the flavor as being somewhere between a peach and a plum, fruits to which they are closely related.
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 in North America from May through August. Any fresh fruit you see during the winter months have been imported from either South America or New Zealand.
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.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF APRICOTS
Nutrients in apricots can help protect the heart and eyes, as well as provide the disease-fighting effects of fiber. The high beta-carotene and lycopene activity of apricots makes them important heart health foods. Both beta-carotene and lycopene protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation, which may help prevent heart disease.
Apricots contain nutrients such as vitamin A that promote good vision. Vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant, quenches free radical damage to cells and tissues. Free radical damage can injure the eyes lenses.
The degenerative effect of free radicals, or oxidative stress, may lead to cataracts or damage the blood supply to the eyes and cause macular degeneration. Researchers who studied over 50,000 registered nurses found women who had the highest vitamin A intake reduced their risk of developing cataracts nearly 40%. Apricots are a good source of fiber, which has a wealth of benefits including preventing constipation and digestive conditions such as diverticulosis. But most Americans get less than 10 grams of fiber per day. A healthy, whole foods diet should include apricots as a delicious way to add to your fiber intake.
PROTECT YOUR EYESIGHT
Your mother may have told you carrots would keep your eyes bright as a child, but as an adult, it looks like fruit is even more important for keeping your sight. Data reported in a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology indicates that eating 3 or more servings of fruit per day may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the primary cause of vision loss in older adults, by 36 percent, compared to persons who consume less than 1.5 servings of fruit daily.
In this study, which involved over 100,000 women and men, researchers evaluated the effect of study participants' consumption of fruits; vegetables; the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E; and carotenoids on the development of early ARMD or neovascular ARMD, a more severe form of the illness associated with vision loss. Food intake information was collected periodically for up to 18 years for women and 12 years for men.
While, surprisingly, intakes of vegetables, antioxidant vitamins and carotenoids were not strongly related to incidence of either form of ARMD, fruit intake was definitely protective against the severe form of this vision-destroying disease.
Three servings of fruit may sound like a lot to eat each day, but by simply tossing a banana into your morning smoothie or slicing it over your cereal, topping off a cup of yogurt or green salad with a half cup of berries, and snacking on an apricot, you have reached this goal.
Apricots are originally from China but arrived in Europe via Armenia, which is why the scientific name is Prunus armenaica. The apricot tree came to Virginia in 1720 but its appearance in the Spanish missions of California around 1792 marked the fruit's real arrival. The climate there is perfectly suited to apricot culture, and apricots in the United States are grown primarily in the sunny orchards of California.
Apricots are enjoyed as a fresh fruit but also dried, cooked into pastry, and eaten as jam. The fruits are also distilled into brandy and liqueur. Essential oil from the pits is sold commercially as bitter almond oil. Turkey, Italy, Russia, Spain, Greece, U.S.A. and France are the leading producers of apricots.
HOW TO SELECT AND STORE APRICOTS
Apricot season in the U.S. runs from May through August. In the winter, apricots are imported from South America. Look for fruits with a rich orange color while avoiding those that are pale and yellow. Fruits should be slightly soft. If they are too firm they have not been tree-ripened, and tree-ripened fruits always taste best.
NUTRIENT GUIDE: APRICOTS
Courtesy of Rick Hall, About.com Nutrition Guide nutrition.about.com.
NUTRIENT UNITS 1 Apricot
PROXIMATES Water g 30.223 Energy kcal 16.800 Energy kj 70.350 Calories From Fat kcal 0.490 Calories From Saturated Fat Kcal 0.090 Protein g 0.490 Total Lipid (Fat) g 0.137 Carbohydrate, By Difference g 3.892 Sugar, Total g 3.050 Monosaccharides g 0.810 Disaccharides g 2.170 Other Carbs g 0.010 Fiber, Total Dietary g 0.840 Fiber, Soluble g 0.470 Fiber, Insoluble g 0.370 Ash g 0.263 Fat, Total g 0.140 Fatty Acids, Trans g 0.000 MINERALS Calcium, Ca mg 4.900 Boron, B mcg 0.000 Chloride, Cl mg 1.050 Chromium, Cr mcg 0.000 Fluoride, F mg 0.000 Iodine, I mcg 0.000 Iron, Fe mg 0.189 Magnesium, Mg mg 2.800 Molybdenum, Mo mcg 0.000 Phosphorus, P mg 6.650 Potassium, K mg 103.600 Sodium, Na mg 0.350 Zinc, Zn mg 0.091 Copper, Cu mg 0.031 Manganese, Mn mg 0.028 Selenium, Se mcg 0.140 VITAMINS Vitamin C, ascorbic acid mg 3.500 Vitamin D IU_mcg 0.000 Thiamin - B-1 mg 0.011 Riboflavin - B-2 mg 0.014 Niacin - B-3 mg 0.210 Niacin Equiv mg 0.300 Pantothenic Acid - B-5 mg 0.084 Vitamin B-6 mg 0.019 Folate - B-9 mcg 3.010 Vitamin B-12 mcg 0.000 Biotin mcg 0.000 Vitamin A, IU IU 914.200 Vitamin A, RE mcg_RE 91.350 Vitamin A - Carotenoid RE 91.350 Vitamin A - Retinol RE 0.000 Vitamin A - Beta Carotene mcg 544.950 Vitamin E mg_ATE 0.311 Vitamin E, Alpha Equiv mg 0.311 Vitamin E IU 0.460 Vitamin K mcg 1.150 LIPIDS Fatty Acids, Saturated g 0.009 4:0 Butyric g 0.000 6:0 Caproic g 0.000 8:0 Caprylic g 0.000 10:0 Capric g 0.000 12:0 Lauric g 0.000 14:0 Myristic g 0.000 15:0 Pentadecanoic g 0.000 16:0 Palmitic g 0.008 17:0 Margaric g 0.000 18:0 Stearic g 0.001 20:0 Arachidic g 0.000 22:0 Behenate g 0.000 24:0 Lignoceric g 0.00 Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated g 00.060 14:1 Myristol g 0.000 15:1 Pentadecanoic g 0.000 16:1 Palmitol g 0.000 17:1 Heptadecanoic g 0.000 18:1 Oleic g 0.060 20:1 Eicosen g 0.000 22:1 Erucic g 0.000 24:1 Nervonic g 0.000 Fatty Acids, Polyunsaturated g 0.027 18:2 Linoleic g 0.027 18:3 Linolenic g 0.000 18:4 Stearidon g 0.000 20:3 Eicosatrienoic mg 0.210 20:4 Arachidon g 0.000 20:5 EPA g 0.000 22:5 DPA g 0.000 22:6 DHA g 0.000 Omega 3 Fatty Acids g 0.000 Omega 6 Fatty Acids g 0.030 Cholesterol mg 0.000 Phytosterols mg 6.300 AMINO ACIDS Tryptophan g 0.005 Threonine g 0.016 Isoleucine g 0.014 Leucine g 0.027 Lysine g 0.034 Methionine g 0.002 Cystine g 0.001 Phenylalanine g 0.018 Tyrosine g 0.010 Valine g 0.016 Arginine g 0.016 Histidine g 0.009 Alanine g 0.024 Aspartic Acid g 0.110 Glutamic Acid g 0.055 Glycine g 0.014 Proline g 0.035 Serine g 0.029
USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 12 (March 1998)
APRICOT SERVING IDEAS
HOW TO ENJOY
A few quick serving ideas:
- Serve fresh apricots in your green salad when they are in season.
- Add sliced apricots to hot or cold cereal.
- The next time you make whole grain pancakes add some chopped apricots to the batter.
- Give a Middle Eastern flavor to chicken or vegetable stews with the addition of dried, diced apricots. Apricots can be pureed and used with Asian cooking. They are the main ingredient in some Duck Sauce recipes:
APRICOT DUCK SAUCE RECIPE
1 clove Garlic, Finely Chopped
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 tablespoon Light Corn Syrup
1 can pitted Apricots, Packed in unsweetened juice or water (1 pound)
1 tablespoon Distilled White Vinegar
1 tablespoon Cornstarch, Dissolved in 2 tablespoons Cold Water
In a 2-quart pot, place the apricots with their juice (or water). Add the garlic, sugar, corn syrup, and vinegar. Over medium heat, bring the liquid to the boil, stirring frequently. With the edge of the spoon, cut the apricots into small pieces as the mixture cooks. Cook the apricots for about 3 minutes after it has come to the boil. Stir together the cornstarch and water until the cornstarch is completely dissolved, then add the cornstarch mixture to the boiling apricots. Stir rapidly for about 15 seconds, until the mixture is thickened and has a glazed look. Transfer the sauce to a bowl or container. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate. The duck sauce will keep for several days in a covered container in the refrigerator. The sauce can be frozen, but as with other cornstarch-thickened products it will lose some if its smoothness when thawed.
DUCK SAUCE RECIPE (APRICOT, PLUM, PEACH)
3 cans Purple Plums, Drained, Pitted & Chopped
2 cans Apricots, Drained, Pitted & Chopped
1 can Peaches, Drained, Pitted & Chopped
2 Chili Pepper, Seeded & Chopped
6 Scallions, Chopped
1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar
2/3 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Water
Black Pepper, To Taste
Combine all ingredients in saucepan. Cover and simmer on low for 1-1/2 hours. Add more water if needed to keep mixture from sticking. Puree in blender or food processor. Pour into jars, cover and refrigerate. (cut recipe in half for home use) This recipe for Duck Sauce makes 128 servings.
SAFETY - DRIED APRICOTS & SULFITES
Commercially grown dried apricots may be treated with sulfur dioxide gas during processing. They may also be treated with sulfites to extend their shelf life. Sulfur-containing compounds are often added to dried foods like apricots as preservatives to help prevent oxidation and bleaching of colors. The sulfites used to help preserve dried apricots cause adverse reactions in an estimated one out of every 100 people, who turn out to be sulfite sensitive. Sulfite reactions can be particularly acute in people who suffer from asthma. The Federal Food and Drug Administration estimates that 5 percent of asthmatics may suffer a reaction when exposed to sulfites. Instead of the bright orange color of sulfite-treated dried apricots, unsulfured dried apricots have brown color, but are a much healthier choice for sulfite-sensitive individuals.
MoonDragon's Health Information: Sulfite Allergies
Foods that are classified as organic do not contain sulfites since federal regulations prohibit the use of these preservatives in organically grown or produced foods. Therefore, concern about sulfite exposure is yet another reason to purchase organic foods.
NUTRITIONAL PROFILE - DRIED APRICOTS
Apricots are an excellent source of vitamin A, a very good source of vitamin C, and a good source of dietary fiber and potassium. Apricots contain phytochemicals called carotenoids, compounds that give red, orange and yellow colors to fruits and vegetables. The powerful antioxidant Lycopene is one of the carotenoids found in apricots.
KEY BENEFITS OF DRIED APRICOTS
Apricots are rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene and rich in iron and potassium. It can help regulate blood pressure and is also high in soluble fibre, which helps maintain regular bowel function.
Dried or fresh apricots can be eaten freely. A handful of dried apricots supplies one fifth of an adult's daily potassium needs and between 10 and 20 percent of an adult's iron needs.
Dried apricots should be eaten with foods that are rich in Vitamin C so that iron absorption can be increased.
NUTRITIONAL VALUES OF DRIED APRICOTS
Calories 188 Carotenes 323 mcg Fat 1 g Fiber 8 g Iron 4 mg Potassium 1880 mg Carbohydrates 37 g Starch 0 Sugars 37 g Protein 4 g
Glycemic Index High 100 g Dried Apricots
Dried apricots are especially rich in carotenes, which are the natural yellow pigments that the body uses to make Vitamin A. According to the American Cancer Society, apricots, and other foods rich in carotenes, may lower the risk of cancers of the larynx, esophagus, and lungs. Apricots also provide potassium, iron, calcium, silicon, phosphorus, and Vitamin C. The copper and cobalt in apricots is beneficial in treating anemia, but should be used cautiously during pregnancy and in cases of diarrhea. In some animal studies, dried apricots were just as effective as liver, kidneys, or eggs in the treatment of iron-deficiency anemia.
Dried fruit is more expensive because it takes five pounds of fresh apricots to produces only one pound of dried; and, since drying removes only the water, the nutrient qualities remain relatively the same. Ounce for ounce, dried apricots, compared to the fresh, have twelve times the iron, seven times the fiber, and five times the Vitamin A.
It is interesting to note that both the fresh and dried apricot are a main food staple of a tiny Hunza principality in the Himalayas, who are known for their extreme longevity, excellent health, and an almost exclusive vegetarian diet.
Organically grown apricots have a superior flavor when fresh. Although their appearance is less appealing when dried, they are not subjected to any bleaching or coloring. Organic apricots have not been treated with preservatives and become darker in color, with a caramel, almost fig-like flavor. Always buy organic because sulfur dioxide has caused some allergic reactions, including anaphylactic shock in people sensitive to sulfites.
You are only limited by your imagination when it comes to using apricots. Be creative and enjoy!
APRICOT PASTA SALAD
4 ounce Fusilli (corkscrew) pasta
6 fresh Apricots (3/4 pound), cut into quarters
1 whole Chicken Breast
2 small Zucchini (1/2 pound), julienne
1 red Bell Pepper, julienne
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Basil or 2 teaspoons Apricot Basil Dressing (recipe follows)
Cook pasta as package directs; drain and let cool. Combine pasta, apricots, chicken, zucchini, red pepper, and basil in bowl. Toss with dressing. Makes 4 servings.
APRICOT BASIL DRESSING
2 tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 tablespoon fresh Basil (or 1 teaspoon dry Basil)
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
Combine 2 fresh ripe apricots (pitted), 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon sugar in blender, whirl until blended. With blender running, slowly add 1/4 cup vegetable oil until thick and smooth. Stir in 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil. Makes 1 cup.
APRICOT STUFFED BBQ CHICKEN
2 whole Chicken Breasts, boned w/skin on
1/2 cup dry Stuffing Mix
1/4 cup chopped Onion
2 tablespoons unsalted Butter, melted
1/2 teaspoons ground Ginger
4 fresh Apricots, halved
1/2 cup Apricot Jam
1 tablespoon Cider Vinegar
Place chicken skin side down and pound with a mallet to flatten slightly. Combine stuffing mix, onion, butter, and 1/4 teaspoon ginger. Spoon stuffing mixture in a strip along center of each breast. Place apricot halves on top of stuffing. Wrap chicken around filling; tie each chicken roll with a string every 2 inches. Barbecue on rack about 5-1/2 inches above medium-hot coals for 15 minutes.
Mix apricot jam, vinegar and remaining 1/4 teaspoon ginger. Brush jam mixture over chicken rolls; continue cooking until done. Makes 4 servings.
1 pound fresh Apricots, halved
1 cup Flour
1 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Shortening
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
Sprinkle topping over apricots; bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. Delicious served with ice cream!
FRESH APRICOT DESSERT TOPPING
2 cups sliced fresh Apricots
1 tablespoon granulated Sugar
2 tablespoons Apricot Nectar or Orange Juice
Muscat Dessert Wine
Mix everything together. Use as a topping for pound cake, ice cream, frozen yogurt and other dessert items.
SAVORY FRESH APRICOT BITES
4 ounces Cream Cheese
12 Apricots, halved
1/2 cup Pistachios, finely chopped
Stir cream cheese until smooth; spoon into apricot halves. Sprinkle with pistachios. Serve as an appetizer, snack or dessert.
CHILLED APRICOT SALAD
1 cup fresh Apricots, halved or quartered
1 cup Pineapple Chunks, fresh or canned
2 Oranges, peeled and cut into bite sized
1 pint Sour Cream
Combine all ingredients and gently stir to blend thoroughly. Cover and chill in refrigerator for 24 hours or more. Spoon into sherbet glasses or into chilled lettuce cups.
2 cups sliced fresh Apricots
1 cup Graham-Cracker Crumbs
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons melted Butter
Combine brown sugar, graham-cracker crumbs, melted butter and lemon juice. Blend gently with sliced apricots. Spread in shallow buttered baking dish. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes. Serve with light cream. Makes 6 servings.
APRICOT ICE CREAM PUDDING
1 package (3-1/4 ounces) Vanilla Tapioca Pudding
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
4 fresh Apricots
1/2 pint Vanilla Ice Cream
Prepare tapioca pudding according to package directions. When tapioca is removed from heat, stir in cinnamon. Pour into serving dishes and chill until set. To serve, cut apricots into sections and arrange on tapioca. Cut ice cream into cubes and drop in center of tapioca an apricots. Serve at once. Makes 4 servings.
EASY APRICOT FRITTERS
Fresh Apricot halves
1 cup sifted Flour
1 tablespoon melted Butter
1/8 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Lemon Juice
Beat eggs until very light; add all other ingredients plus just enough cold water to make a batter like a heavy cream. Dust apricot halves with flour and dip in batter. Fry in deep cooking oil or shortening. Drain and dust with powdered sugar.
FRESH APRICOT RIPPLE ICE CREAM
1-1/2 cups pureed or mashed fresh Apricots
1 tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice
3/4 cup Dugar
1 quart Vanilla Ice Cream
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/4 teaspoon Almond Extract
Mix puree with lemon juice and sugar. Chill for 30 minutes. Soften ice cream slightly. Whip cream and add flavoring. Mix puree, ice cream and cream quickly but not thoroughly - just enough for a ripple effect. Freeze until firm. Serve with additional fresh apricots for a tangy topping. Serves 6 to 8.
1 quart Apricots
1/2 cup Sugar
1 quart Water
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
Wash and pit fresh fruit. Boil fruit and water 5 minutes. Strain. Add sugar and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Makes 1-1/2 quarts.
APRICOTS WITH MIXED GREENS
VINAIGRETTE, GOAT CHEESE & WALNUTS
Fresh Apricots, sliced
1 tablespoon Balsamic or Red Wine Vinegar
1 tablespoon Water
1 small clove Garlic
1/2 teaspoon fresh Thyme or 1 teaspoon dried Thyme
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
8 cups Mixed Greens
3 ounces Goat Cheese
1/4 cup chopped Walnuts
Black Pepper to taste
In food processor or blender combine 6 apricot halves with vinegar, water, garlic & thyme, blend until smooth. Add olive oil and continue blending for 15 seconds; chill. Crumble goat cheese into salad and add additional apricot slices. Mix with apricot vinaigrette and walnuts.
APRICOTS & ROASTED CHICKEN IN PASTA
1 package Bow-Tie Noodles
2 Chicken Breasts, sliced
1/3 cup chopped Green Onion
salt & Pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons Margarine
1-1/2 cups Half & Half
Cook noodles accordingly. In a medium saucepan, simmer half & half 4 minutes. Add margarine, onion, chicken & apricots; continue simmering 2 minutes. Pour over pasta and serve immediately.
SOUTHWESTERN APRICOT SALSA
4 ounces Red Onion
1 ounce Olive Oil
1 ounce Cilantro, chopped
1 ounce Lime Juice
1 ounce Lemon Juice
2 teaspoons White Wine Vinegar
chopped Jalapeno Pepper, minced
1/2 teaspoon Lime Peel, grated
1/2 teaspoon ground Cumin
White Pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
Combine apricots and remaining ingredients in bowl, stirring gently. Cover and refrigerate until served.
APRICOT CHEESE TART
36 ounces Cream Cheese
6 ounces Granulated Sugar
6 ounces Heavy Cream
2 ounces Orange Liqueur
3 11-inch Pre-baked Tart Shells
1-1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1-1/2 teaspoons Lemon Peel
12 ounces Red Currant Jelly
6 ounces Sliced Almonds
1-1/2 ounces Lemon Juice
Beat cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer, until smooth. Add heavy cream, eggs, liqueur, lemon juice, vanilla extract & lemon peel. Pour mixture into tart shells, dividing evenly. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes (or until set). Arrange apricot halves over baked tart in concentric circles (make sure apricots are dry!) Melt jelly in saucepan over low heat. With pastry brush, apply thin glaze of jelly over apricots and filling. Garnish with almonds. Cover and refrigerate until served.
WARM APRICOT TOPPING
1 pint Water
12 ounces Granulated Sugar
8 ounces Butter
2 ounces Brown Sugar
4 ounces Orange Juice
1 can of canned Apricots or 1/2 pound fresh Apricots
2 ounces Lemon Juice
2 ounces Orange Liqueur
1 ounce Apricot Brandy
1/2 teaspoon Brown Cinnamon
Combine water and sugar in saucepan. Cook over low heat until dissolved. Increase heat and bring to boil. Cook 10 minutes until syrup has thickened. Add butter and next 6 ingredients. Add apricots and cook until heated through. For French toast, pancakes, ice cream.
7 pounds Apricots (unpeeled, whole)
6 Cinnamon Sticks
4 pounds Sugar (may be all or part Brown Sugar)
1 pint Vinegar
Wash apricots and stick 2-3 cloves into each one. Boil cinnamon sticks and vinegar together. Put apricots into syrup and boil gently until soft, but not mushy. Pack into sterilized hot jars with one cinnamon stick in each jar. seal at once. An elegant accompaniment to meat and poultry.
Follow directions for pickled apricots (recipe above). Add 1 tablespoon brandy to each pint of pickled apricots just before sealing.
APRICOT BREAKFAST CAKE
8 fresh Apricots
1/4 cup Soft Shortening
1-1/2 cups Sifted Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 or 2 tablespoon Butter or Margarine
12 Walnut Halves
3/4 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Milk
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
Heat oven to 375°F. Mix sugar, egg and shortening thoroughly. Stir in milk. Blend in flour, baking powder and salt. Melt margarine or butter. Sprinkle as much cinnamon over brown sugar as you wish. Halve and pit apricots. Place rounded side up in rows of four. You may need fewer or more apricots, depending on their size. Spread cake mixture over apricots. Bake 25-35 minutes. When done place a plate over pan and flip cake out of pan. Place a walnut half in each apricot cup. Serve warm.
APRICOT RECIPE LINKS
California Apricot Council Recipes
Southern Food Apricot Recipes
Chef de Cuisine Apricot Recipes
B & R Farms Apricot Recipes
Apricot King Orchards Apricot Recipes
Recipe Land Apricot Recipes
Food Down Under Apricot Recipes
Nancy's Kitchen Apricot Recipes
Food Service Apricot Recipes for Large Groups
Just Fruit Recipes Apricot Recipes
Mass Recipes Apricot Recipes
The Apricot Page Apricot Recipes
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