Did you know? In 2004, only 13% of all United States apricots were sold fresh, 23% were used for canning and juicing, and 57% were dried apricots.
Before peaches, plums and berries appear in markets, apricots arrive. Ancient Romans were so impressed by this fruit’s early ripening that they took to calling it praecocium, Latin for “precocious.” Most apricots are destined to be canned or dried, and their season is fleeting, so get fresh ones fast. Enjoy the fruits alone for a snack, or highlight their inherent sweetness in one of our delicious recipes (below).
Low in calories and packed with nutrients, just three fresh apricots will give you almost half the vitamin A you need for the day along with a healthy dose of vitamin C, potassium and fiber. In addition, apricots are packed with beta carotene, an antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals that damage cells.
Purchase plump, fairly firm apricots that are orange-yellow to orange. Ripe apricots are soft and juicy—they should be eaten as soon as possible.
To ripen apricots, place the hard fruit in a brown paper bag for one or two days. Ripe apricots should be stored in the refrigerator to prevent overripening.
Fresh apricots can be frozen: just halve the fruit, remove the pit, and freeze on a baking sheet. Once frozen, place the apricots in a sealable plastic bag.