Friday, June 9, 2017

An Abunance of Apricots

At our class last night, one of the ladies had sacks of Apricots to share.  Often our fruit trees freeze, so fresh apricots are a rarity.   She is expecting to have a lot of apricots over the next couple of weeks.  Apricots make a great snack, dessert or breakfast item.  In addition to Vitamin C, apricots are very high in Vitamin A.  Six medium fresh apricots can supply more than 1/3 of the normal daily requirement of Vitamin A.  One apricot has approximately 16 calories and is one of the best fruit sources of minerals like iron.

Apricots are a delicate fruit and need to be handled with some care. Avoid dropping or setting items on apricots.  Store fully ripened apricots in the refrigerator, which will slow down the ripening process, keeping the fruit fresh longer. To ripen slightly green apricots, store them in a closed paper bag in a warm room. Fresh fruit should be washed under cold water to remove any dirt or bacteria before eating. Fresh apricots should maintain their quality for 2 to 5 days depending on their condition.  They can be eaten raw or cooked.  Some people cook and puree them for use in breads and cookies.  They also make great jams and preserves.

Freezing apricots is a quick and easy way to have apricots all year long. To freeze apricots submerge the fruit in boiling water for ½ minute to keep the peel from toughening. You do not have to peel apricots. Slice in half and remove the pit. Treat to keep them from turning brown with a commercial solution of ascorbic acid or by dipping fruit in unsweetened pineapple or lemon juice.

If you want sweetened apricots, a good way to freeze apricots is in a sugar pack.  Make the pack by mixing prepared fruit with sugar and ascorbic acid in a large bowl. Use ½ to 1/3 cup sugar to each quart of prepared fruit. Gently stir until the fruit is coated and the sugar is dissolved. Pack the fruit into a freezer container and freeze.  Frozen apricots are delicious in pies, crisps, and cobblers. 

Another great way to preserve apricots for later use is by drying them.  They make nutrient packed snacks to take on the go.  Fruit may be dried in your oven or a food dehydrator.  For details on how to dry, freeze or can apricots, check out these pages from NMSU's Extension Service.

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