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All about Apricot

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Nutritional value of apricot

  Fresh apricot, 3 medium fruits (105 g) Dried apricot, sulfurized, 6 halves (21 g)
Calories 50 51
Protein 1.5g 0.7 g
Carbohydrates 11.7g 13.2 g
Fat 0.4 g 0.1g
Dietary fiber 2.1g 1.5g
Glycemic load  : Low
Antioxidant power  : High                        

Source: Health Canada. Canadian Nutrient File , 2010

Apricot health profile

Consumed fresh, dried, in juice, marmalade or jam, it is rich in fiber, antioxidants and vitamin A. Dried, it is appreciated by athletes for the energy it brings and for its high iron content and copper.

The benefits of apricots

Several prospective and epidemiological studies have shown that a high consumption of fruits and vegetables decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers and other chronic diseases , 2 . The presence of antioxidants in fruits and vegetables could play a role in these protective effects.

The apricot is a source of fiber . In addition to preventing constipation and reducing the risk of colon cancer, a diet rich in fiber can help prevent cardiovascular disease, as well as control type 2 diabetes and appetite 14 .

Very few studies have analyzed the specific health effects of apricots.

  • Chronic gastritis . According to a study, the daily consumption of 3  dried or marinated Japanese apricots (umeboshi type, see Recipe ideas) could reduce the severity of chronic gastritis 17 . Chronic gastritis is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach, caused by an infection with the Helicobacter pylori bacteria . The Japanese apricot is said to decrease the inflammatory effects of H. pylori bacteria in the stomach. Chronic inflammation of the stomach can, in some people, lead to stomach cancer. However, more studies will be needed to confirm if eating Japanese apricot can reduce this risk.

What does apricot contain?

Antioxidants. Apricots contain different antioxidants , particularly phenolic compounds from the flavonoid family , 18 . These compounds help neutralize free radicals in the body and thus prevent the onset of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and various chronic diseases 3 . The antioxidant content of dried apricots is higher than that of fresh apricots 5 . Apricot purees, jams and juices (nectars) contain substantially the same antioxidant compounds, but in smaller quantities than in fresh or dried apricots 6 .

Apricot and fat, a winning combination
Carotenoids, including beta-carotene, are better absorbed into the body when a small amount of fat is consumed at the same time 12 . It is therefore advisable to consume, for example, dried apricots with a few nuts or an apricot juice with a piece of cheese.

Apricots also contain carotenoids 8 , mainly beta-carotene, a carotenoid contributing largely to its orange color 9 , as well as a small amount of lycopene 10 . In the body, beta-carotene has the ability to turn into vitamin A. In general, the total carotenoid content of the peel apricots is 2 to 3 times higher than that of the flesh 9 . Even if, for an equivalent portion, the fresh apricot contains 2 times less beta-carotene than the carrot (one of the best sources), it remains a very interesting source. Dried apricots contain just under 11 .

Fibers. Apricots, fresh and dried, are a source of dietary fiber. A ½ cup (125 ml) serving of fresh apricots fills 5% and 8%, respectively, of the recommended daily fiber intake for men and women aged 19 to 50. As for dried apricots , a portion of ¼ cup (60 ml) fills 8% and 12% of these same contributions 13 .

Main vitamins and minerals

Excellent source Vitamin A Fresh apricots and dried apricots are excellent sources of vitamin A.
Good source Iron Dried apricot is a good source of iron for men and a source for women . Fresh apricots are a source of iron for humans .
Good source Copper Dried apricot is a good source of copper. Fresh apricots are a source of copper.
Source Vitamin B3 (niacin) Dried apricot is a source of vitamin B3.
Source Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) Dried apricot is a source of vitamin B5.
Source Vitamin C Fresh apricots are a source of vitamin C.
Source Vitamin K Dried apricot is a source of vitamin K for women .
Source Magnesium Dried apricot is a source of magnesium for women .
Source Phosphorus Dried apricot is a source of phosphorus.
Source Potassium Fresh apricots and dried apricots are sources of potassium.

 

Dried apricots sweeter?
The amount of sugar in a dried apricot is the same as in a fresh apricot. But like in any dried fruit, the sugar is more concentrated . The dehydration process of fruits decreases their water content, thus concentrating their sugar content, but also in various nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. This makes apricot and other dried fruits nutritionally interesting.

False apricot
products Several apricot products, such as jam and juice (nectar), are popular with consumers. In order to reduce the production costs of these products, some food companies sometimes substitute apple mash 15 or pumpkin 6 for an amount of apricot. Despite the fact that it is prohibited, this practice often goes unnoticed, since the taste, texture or color of the final product is not necessarily modified.

Precautions

Sulfites

Sulfites are one of the 9 most common food allergens. Their consumption can cause very serious reactions in individuals who are allergic to them. The sulfites are naturally occurring compounds in foods and in the body, but they are also found in the form of food additives. They are used as preservatives. The dried apricots and products containing apricot – like jam – can be a source of sulfites. It is therefore essential for people allergic to sulfites to read the labels carefully, in order to avoid consuming food products that contain them. Even if the regulations are strict on this subject, we occasionally find undeclared sulfitesin some products – including apricot 16 . It is therefore important to be doubly vigilant when consuming such products. Of dried apricots without sulfites are now available on the market. They are a good alternative for people who should avoid consumption of this food additive.

Oral allergy syndrome

Apricot is a food implicated in oral allergy syndrome . This syndrome takes the form of an allergic reaction to certain proteins from a range of fruits, vegetables and nuts 19 . It affects some people with allergies to environmental pollens and is almost always preceded by hay fever .

When certain people allergic to birch pollen consume raw apricot (cooking usually degrades allergenic proteins), an immunological reaction may occur. These people have itching and burning sensations in the mouth, lips and throat. After consuming or touching the offending food, symptoms can appear and then disappear within a few minutes.

In the absence of other symptoms, this reaction is not serious and consumption of apricot does not have to be systematically avoided. However, it is recommended that you consult an allergist to determine the cause of reactions to plant foods. The latter will be able to assess whether special precautions should be taken

Recipe ideas

Sweet dishes

Spinach salad with apricots
  • In many desserts such as sorbets, ice creams and frozen yogurts, pancakes and soufflés, rice pudding, cakes, clafoutis, charlottes, pies, muffins. Do not hesitate to marry it with almond, its ideal companion.
  • Poached in maple syrup or dipped in melted chocolate .
  • Particularly rich in pectin, it allows you to make excellent jams in which grape juice or honey can replace sugar.
with apricots

Savory dishes

  • Vinaigrette . Mix apricot juice with vegetable oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard and, if desired, a little tabasco sauce.
  • Condiment with mustard . Mix ½ cup apricot jam (preferably unsweetened or sweetened with fruit juice) with 2 tsp. Dijon mustard. Serve with meat or add to a vinaigrette.
  • Stuffing for poultry. Mix chopped dried apricots, pecans, onions, cooked wild rice and herbs.
  • Glaze a poultry – or roast – with an apricot jam before cooking. Add garlic jam, soy sauce, olive oil and rosemary to the jam. Reserve part of the preparation as a side sauce and spread the rest over the meat. Let marinate ½ hour before baking.
  • Celery root and apricot soup. Brown diced celery root with finely chopped onion in olive oil. Add vegetable broth and dried apricots and simmer 45 minutes. Go to the blender, salt, pepper and serve.
  • Indian soup . Marry the apricot with winter squash or pumpkin, spices (ginger, mustard and coriander seeds, turmeric, cinnamon, hot pepper) and basmati rice.
  • Chutney sauce. Imperfectly ripened apricots are particularly suitable for this dish. Puree them with coriander leaves, ginger root, chopped onions, hot pepper and lemon juice.
Umeboshi: plum or apricot?
The Japanese attribute many virtues to umeboshi, a very popular dish in macrobiotic cuisine. It does not come from a plum, as is often claimed, but from an apricot of the species Prunus mume . To prepare the umeboshi, marinate the apricots in salt before drying them.
  • Umeboshi. These salted and dried apricots are sold canned in health food stores. One of the simplest ways to consume them is to chop them and stuff a rice dumpling that you can shape by hand. Dip meatballs in seasoned soy sauce, if desired, Japanese horseradish ( wasabi ).
  • Japanese salad . Mix slices of fresh, dried or rehydrated shiitake mushrooms with pieces of dried apricots. Spend a few minutes in boiling water, green beans, carrots and daikon (or another type of radish), sliced ​​or cut into pieces. Cool them under cold water before adding them to the first two ingredients. Serve with a sauce made of tofu, tahini (sesame paste), soy sauce, rice vinegar and mirin (a Japanese cooking wine), blended. To decorate, add a few strips of lemon zest.

Choice and conservation

To choose

The apricot should be yellow or orange, supple to the touch, fragrant and with smooth skin, signs of maturity. If necessary, you can ripen apricots by putting them in a paper bag at room temperature for 1 or 2 days. Avoid green fruits, as they will not ripen.

The fruits of the best varieties of apricots are rarely found fresh outside their area of ​​production. In fact, they resist poorly the numerous manipulations required during storage and long distance transport. Canned or dried fruits are therefore often tastier because they are harvested at full maturity and come from more tasty varieties.

There are also virgin apricot oil , which is used mainly for facial care, in health food stores.

Keep

If they are ready to eat at the time of purchase, the apricots and will not keep for more than 2 or 3 days at room temperature.

Refrigerator . In the refrigerator, they can be stored for 1 week in a perforated plastic bag, but this changes their texture and flavor. Take them out for a while before eating them.

Freezer . Cut them in half along the groove, remove the core and place the halves on a plate to freeze them. Then place them in plastic bags and put them back in the freezer.

The little story of the apricot

Common names  : apricot, Armenian plum, Armenian apple.

Scientific names  : Prunus armeniaca (synonym Armeniaca vulgaris ), Prunus mume (Japanese apricot).
Family  : rosaceae.

The term ”  apricot  “, which appeared in the French language in 1512, followed a long etymological course. It first came from the Latin praecoquum , “precocious”, by allusion to the fact that the apricot tree flowers very early in the season. It would later become Castilian ( Albanian ), passing through Greek, Arabic and Spanish. It is also attributed to another Greek origin, abros , which means “delicate” in reference to the fragility of the fruit. Finally, the Romans also called it aperitum , which means “fruit that is easily eaten”, because the nucleus easily detaches from the flesh.

The names apricot of Santo Domingo and apricot of the Antilles indicate fruits belonging to the botanical genus Mammea and not to the genus Prunus . The neologisms “  prucot  ” and “  plumot  ” designate the fruits coming from hybrids resulting from crosses between plum and apricot.

Contrary to what the Latin name of the species indicates ( armeniaca ), the apricot tree does not come from Armenia , but from the northeast of China . It would have been domesticated 4,000 years ago by a Chinese people who selected varieties particularly rich in sugar. Over 2,000 years ago, Roman legionaries introduced it to Greece and Italy. However, it will not happen in France and XV th  century and its culture it truly establish that three centuries later. Around the same time, Spanish missionaries implanted him in southern California, where he was quickly adopted.

Today, the greatest production of apricots is done in the Mediterranean countries (Turkey, Spain, Syria, Greece, France) and in Iran. In America, California and Chile dominate the market. In Canada , it is grown in southern British Columbia and Ontario.

By maceration of the fruit in brandy, we make a liqueur which bears the name of apricototine . In addition, an oil is drawn from the kernel of the kernel. Although edible, it is mainly used in cosmetology.

Organic gardening

Although tolerant of cold, the apricot tree produces little in our latitudes, because its very early flowers are sensitive to frost. However, certain varieties have been selected to survive the low temperatures of the Canadian Prairies (zones 3 and 4). We could therefore try to cultivate them in Quebec. These are the varieties Brookcot, PrairieGold, Strathmore, Sub Zero, Sunrise and Westcot.

To increase the chances of getting fruit

  • It is preferable to choose a place facing east or north in order to delay flowering. Protect the plantation against cold winds and avoid planting in areas with frost pockets.
  • We put a thick mulch over the entire surface under which the roots run to delay the buds hatching.
  • For the same reason, the trunk is coated with white paint intended for this use.
  • Avoid places where the soil is permanently wet.

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