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Apricots for Health

Apricots for health

Did you know?

  • The apricot is a native of China and has been cultivated for over 4,000 years.
  • Today, the United States produces close to 90 percent of the world's apricots, most being grown in California.
  • Apricots are an excellent source of beta carotene (vitamin A) and also provide vitamin C, iron, potassium, and fiber.
  • Apricots are also a way to get lycopene, which has been associated with cancer prevention in men. They are also a good source of fiber.
  • Three medium apricots contain only about 50 calories, making them a great snack-choice.

Using Apricots

Apricots can be halved or sliced then frozen in syrup made from 2 cups sugar to 5 cups water; add 2 ounces ascorbic acid for each 2-1/2 cups syrup. Plunge the whole apricots into boiling water for about thirty seconds, and peel, pit and halve or slice.

Apricots can be made into wine and brandy.

Apricots are one of the best natural sources of Vitamin A, especially when dried. Although it is one of the few vitamins which we can theoretically build up to toxic levels, this doesn't normally happen if it is taken naturally. Three medium apricots contain about 50 calories.

Apricots originally hailed from China. Cuttings of this golden fruit made their way across the Persian Empire to the Mediterranean where they flourished. The Spanish explorers get credit for introducing the apricot to the New World, and specifically to California, where they were planted in the gardens of Spanish missions. In 1792, in an area south of San Francisco, the first major production of apricots was recorded.

Did you know you can get Apricot Fruit Leather? It's delicious - and 1 strip is equal to 1/2 serving of real fruit. They are made exclusively with real fruit puree and contain no added sugar, artificial flavors, preservatives or colors. Convenient, take-anywhere, pre-wrapped strips of pure fruit are great to take with you - wherever your day carries you. Stretch Island Fruit Company makes them. (StretchIslandFruit.com)

Apricots are delicious eaten whole and fresh, and the good news is they are low in sodium, calories and fat, so there is no need to feel guilty no matter how many you eat.

Apricots are also high in fiber and low in calories. Weight for weight, dried apricots are an even healthier option as the drying process increases the concentration of the beta carotene and fiber and also the levels of potassium and iron.

Make Apricots Part of Your 5 A Day Plan

Fresh Apricots It is easy to include apricots in your meals. Try these great short cuts to getting your 5 to 9 A Day!

  • Slice them up for fruit salads.
  • Puree apricots for sauces. The sauces are especially good on pancakes, desserts, or meat.
  • Use apricots whenever a recipe calls for peaches or nectarines.
  • Add apricots to your favorite baked desserts.
  • Pack them for your lunch, or have them as a snack
  • Add apricots to low fat cottage cheese and your fruit smoothies.
  • For a great tasting snack when hiking, add dried apricots to your trail mix

Apricot Nectar Shake

1 cup mashed ripe frozen bananas (about 2 large)
1/2 cup low fat milk
1 cup apricot nectar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Place all ingredients in blender. Cover and blend about 30 seconds or until smooth. Serve immediately over ice cubes. Serves 2.

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