Apricots are small drupes related to peach or plums. They have a soft tangy flesh beneath a thin outer skin with a large pit at its center, which is inedible. It is a powerhouse of nutrients packed with many benefits.
Benefits of Apricots
- Good Source of Vitamin A – Apricots are packed with Vitamin A, also known as retinol. It is fat soluble and helps in the enhancement of vision. It keeps check over the immune system , there by protects our skin. Retinol and Beta Carotene (also present in apricots) also reduces the chances of developing a serious eye-related disorder called Neovascular ARMD – an age-related macular degeneration,that causes loss of vision over the years.
- 2. Rich in Fiber – Whether you eat it dried or fresh, apricots are a good source of dietary fiber. The retinol in apricot is fat soluble and thus the fruit dissolves in the body easily, and the important nutrients are easily absorbed by the system. It breaks down fatty acids fast, which means your digestion is in order. And not only that, the fruit protects you from gastrointestinal concerns by cleaning out the intestines regularly.
- Good for Your Heart – The fruit is high on fiber content whichhelps to reduce the bad cholesterol content in the body and that means your heart is protected. At the same time, it increases the good cholesterol. The potassium content in the fruit balances the electrolyte levels in our system, keeping our heart muscles in order. All you have to do is to eat one or two fresh apricots every day or a handful of dried ones.
- Treasure Chest of Antioxidants – Ripe apricots are natural sources of antioxidants. When consumed daily, it helps the body to get rid of toxins that we tend to collect over time. Antioxidants in turn also kill free radicals that damage our cells.
- Good for Your Blood – Any plant product that contains iron, has non-heme iron, and that includes apricot too. This type of iron takes time to get absorbed by the body.The longer it stays in the system, the better are the chances of preventing anemia. It’s recommended to take vitamin C along with apricot to ensure better absorption of the non-heme iron.
- Good for the Skin – Apricot oil is good for skin care. It is quickly absorbed by the skin and does not keep it oily after application. Apricots are not just useful for maintaining the smooth and shiny appearance of the skin; they also aid in treating a number of skin diseases including eczema, itching, scabies, and a number of other irritating conditions. This is specifically due to the antioxidant compounds found in apricots. Not only they have a healthy amount of vitamin A, which has long been associated with healthier skin, but the antioxidants in apricots protect the skin from the effects of free radicals, which can lead to skin deterioration and signs of premature aging.
- It’s Diet Friendly – The dietary fiber in the fruit improves your digestive system, which helps to increase your metabolism. It is often recommended to eat few apricots as a snack, when you’re feeling peckish, especially if you’re on a diet. It fills you up but it doesn’t add unnecessary calories. However, remember to rinse your mouth after you eat the dried version. Dried fruits contain more sugar, and you don’t want that to affect your dental health.
- It Strengthens Your Bones – Calcium is much required in the formation and development of bones and apricot has lots of it. What’s also interesting to note is that without enough potassium in the body, the calcium is not absorbed and disposed of uniformly. And the good news is that the apricot has both of them!
- Relieve Earaches – Apricot oil is good for earaches, although the exact mechanism is still being studied. Dripping a few drops into the affected ear canal should prove to be a fast remedy. According to the scientists, the antioxidants present in apricot essential oil are responsible for relieving earaches.
10 . Reduce Fever – Apricot juice is often given to patients suffering from fever because it provides necessary vitamins, minerals, calories and water to the body, while also detoxifying various organs. Some people also use steamed apricot to relieve fevers.
- Anti-inflammatory Properties – It has anti-inflammatory properties that can also impact the body’s overall temperature level in sickness. Furthermore, it can reduce inflammation in other parts of the body, especially for people suffering from arthritis or gout.
- Help Treat Anemia – Owing to the presence of iron and copper, apricots help in the formation of hemoglobin when you consume them. This property helps in treating anemia. Anemia is basically iron deficiency and it can lead to weakness, fatigue, lightheadedness, digestive issues, and general metabolic dysfunction. Without red blood cells, the body can’t reoxygenate itself properly, and organ systems begin to malfunction. Iron is a key part of red blood cell formation, as is copper. Both of these minerals are present in apricots, making them a great tool to boost metabolism and in keeping the body functioning properly.
- Relieves Asthma Symptoms
The Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research has published a study concluding that apricot oil is anti-asthmatic in nature and helps in providing relief from the disease and its related symptoms. It has certain expectorant and stimulant qualities due to its essential oils. One of these can help to relieve pressure and stress on the lungs and respiratory system, thereby preventing asthma attacks before they begin.
Adding apricots to your diet
Like most tasty fruits, the apricot can be eaten in multiple ways. The dried and the fresh version are the easiest. But you could also chop apricots up and add them to your morning cereal. You can even make a blend of it with yoghurt and make a dip or a spread for bread (if you don’t mind a sweetish sandwich that is). Apricots are also used liberally in jams and preserves and if you can figure out a recipe that uses little or no sugar, you can eat it without feeling too guilty.
Apricot tarts, pies, crumbles and cakes are popular, but did you know you could also use apricot to add extra flavour (and health of course) to your salad? The fruit goes well with green leaves, feta, and almonds. And all you need to finish the salad is a little balsamic dressing!
Dried apricots are of course easier to store, as long as you don’t keep it under too much light, but fresh apricots need to be consumed quicker as the skin might get wrinkled, and the fruit will begin to lose its efficacy.
Recipe for Apricot Cobbler
Total Time, Prep: 20 min. Bake: 30 min. Makes 6 servings
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup water
3 cans (15-1/4 ounces each) apricot halves, drained
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup whole milk
In a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir with water until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 1 minute. Reduces heat. Add apricots and butter; heat, pour into a greased shallow 2-qt. baking dish.
For topping, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl; cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in milk, just until moistened. Scoop over the hot apricot mixture. Bake at 400° until golden brown and a toothpick is inserted into the topping comes out clean, 30-35 minutes.
Recipe for Habanero Apricot Jam
Total Time, Prep: 15 min. Process: 5 min. Makes 11 half-pints
3-1/2 pounds fresh apricots
6 tablespoons bottled lemon juice
2 to 4 habanero peppers, seeded
1 package (1-3/4 ounces) powdered fruit pectin
7 cups sugar
Pit and chop apricots; place in a Dutch oven. Stir in lemon juice. Place habaneros in a blender; add a small amount of apricot mixture. Cover and process until smooth. Return to the pan.
Stir in pectin. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar; return to a full rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from the heat; skim off foam. Carefully ladle hot mixture into hot sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-in. headspace. Wipe rims and adjust lids. Process for 5 minutes in a boiling-water can.
For best results, let processed jam stand at room temperature for 2 weeks to set up.
Apricots are safe when consumed in smallamounts. However avoid eating the seeds as it may lead to cyanide poisoning.