In late Spring/ early Summer every year, "apricot season" starts. Therefore, right now is the perfect time to take a closer look at the "orange beauty" and discover more about the fruit, which looks like the nectarine's little daughter and the plum's orange sister. Interested? Read on.
Our orangy apricots like it mild, dry and warm! Who doesn't I think, writing those lines? Anyway...to grow into the beautiful orange-red friends of ours, apricots need constant mild temperatures and a lot of sunlight. Therefore, most of the apricots available in Germany come from the Middle Sea region (Greece, Italy, Spain, South France, Turkey). However, there are also types of apricots that grow in South Germany.
As apricots are a "natural produce" of various European countries, there is also a wide range of apricot types available in the market. Depending on the species, apricots may range from a very dark orange color to more yellow or reddish tones in their "prime stage".
Apricots are the perfect "healthy snack" in my opinion. Instead of grabbing a processed sugary sweet in the moment of craving, why not grab an apricot? Combined with nut butter and a cacao nib sprinkle on top, you got an absolutely delicious and nutrient-rich snack alternative that won't give you any bad conscious afterward. Why? Let's take a closer look at the nutrient composition of this orangy "super-fruit".
Apricots Are Super "Low-Calorie"
With only 48kcal per 100g, apricots are a relatively low-calorie fruit, almost identical to mandarines. However unline mandarines, apricots contain more than twice as much protein as their orange friends do (0.6g per 100g mandarine vs. 1.4g protein per 100g apricots). Besides, more than three quarters, exactly 84.4g out of 100g apricot, are water. Therefore, apricots also support to hydrate our bodies.
Apricots Are Rich In Antioxidants
Antioxidants are substances that help our body fight against free radicals, which are one of the prime sources of cell damage resulting in cancer in the long run. Important antioxidants, we can include from external sources, are Vitamin A, C, E, Beta-Carotine, Lycopene, Lutein, Selenium, Manganese, Zeaxanthin.
Apricots contain 1094 μg Beta-Carotine, 96μg Vitamin A and 10mg Vitamin C per 100g. Other key nutrients of apricots, which are known for their positive impact on our nervous system and the overall health of our immune-system (B-Vitamins, Vit C and Magnesium) can be extracted from the chart below.
Apricots Are Easy Digestible
Apricots are very mild and low-acid. Therefore, they are also highly recommendable for people with difficulties to digest acid foods, especially babies and older people.
In their "prime stage", apricots have a delicious, refreshing and mildly sweet taste. In this stage, they make a perfect addition to a wide variety of sweet and savory dishes. Apricots are very sensitive though. Just like apples, overripe apricots may have a powdery aftertaste, whereas unripe apricots may taste super blade. Therefore, always check your apricots before purchase. Apricots which are still very hard but are covered with dark spots, may not ripe into the beautiful delicious fruit we desire but instead go bad without even reaching their moment to "shine".
European Apricot Season typically starts at the beginning of June (early summer) and lasts until late summer/early fall. During this time, supermarkets, Farmer's Markets and Restaurants are selling and serving the delicious orangy fruit in abundance. In June, most of the produce still comes from our beloved Mediterranean neighbor-countries (Italy, Spain, Greece, South France). The harvest season of German apricots typically starts in July.
Apricots are super sensitive! They don't like to rest in the heat, neither do they enjoy super cold temperatures. If the apricots you have at hand are not ripe yet, I highly recommend storing them at room temperature. That way, they will gradually develop their full aroma. If however, you already bought apricots which are pretty ripe but can't eat them, store them in your fridge. Depending on their stage of maturity, you should be able to keep them fresh for several days there.
Apricots are one of my favorite Spring/ early Summer fruits. They aren't only perfect for any breakfast bowl, they also create a perfect balance in salads and savory lunch dishes. One of my favorite ways to serve apricots "savory", is to add them to a colorful salad bowl. In this combo, they add the perfect natural sweetness to balance our super healthy and nutrient-loaded leafy greens! In the following, you will find a list of apricot recipes, I have fallen in love with..
- Wholegrain Bread topped with Yoghurt Apricots and Granola Crunch (see image below)