Health Benefits Apricots - Nutrition Summary, Culinary Uses, Recipes

Apricots are probably the most popular of the group of stone fruits in the Rosaceae family: genus, Prunus. This group includes peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries and almonds.

Apricot fruits dry very well, and this expands their use when fresh fruit is not available. Originating in Asia, apricots are now grown all over the world for the golden-orange sweet, tangy, fragrant and delicious fresh apricot fruits available in a short season.

Fresh, ripe apricots have firmer texture and a sweeter flavor than plums, that have a slightly bitter-tasting skin.

Apricots have outstanding nutritional values and provide many health benefits. When dried some of the vitamins are lost (especially Vitamin C), but the minerals, fiber and protein and many other nutrients are retained and concentrated. The energy content of dried apricots is five times that of fresh apricots.

This article summarizes the nutritional facts and health benefits for fresh and dried apricots.

See the many uses for apricots in sweet and savory dishes and a selection of the best ever recipes showcasing the potential of apricots as a healthy ingredient.

Lovely apricots are related to almonds, peaches. plums and nectarines. All have great health benefits.
Lovely apricots are related to almonds, peaches. plums and nectarines. All have great health benefits. | Source
Apricots in Wine
Apricots in Wine | Source
Dried Apricots have many uses
Dried Apricots have many uses | Source
Chicken breast with apricot sauce
Chicken breast with apricot sauce | Source
Apricot and Almond Pie
Apricot and Almond Pie | Source

Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits of Fresh and Dried Apricots

The nutrition facts for fresh and dried apricots is compared with peaches, plums and nectarines in the table at the end of the article

Fresh apricots have low calories with just 50 calories per 100 g, however dried apricots have 241 calories per 100g and should be used sparingly.

Apricots are a wonderful source of dietary fiber and protein, more than the other fruit. Dried apricots has 3 g of protein and 7 g of fiber per 100g.

Apricots are excellent sources of carotenes and vitamin-A with levels 5 times higher for the other fruit. A serving of 100 g fresh apricots has 1926 IU of Vitamin A, which is 64% of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin A. Carotene and Vitamin-A help the body maintain healthy eyes, skin and mucus membranes.

Fresh apricots have 10 mg of Vitamin C per 100 g, much higher than in the other fruit. However, it is important to note that most of this Vitamin C is lost when the fruit is dried (down to only 1 g/ 100 g of fruit). Vitamin C helps the body maintain resistance to infections agents and protects against harmful oxygen free radicals.

Apricots are a great source of many minerals including zinc, calcium, potassium, iron and manganese.

Apricots are a rich source of antioxidants with the total anti-oxidant power of raw apricots rated at 1115 umol Trolex equivalents/100 g, via poly phenolic compounds such as lutein, beta cryptoxanthin and zea xanthin

Choosing, and Preparing Apricots for Eating and Cooking

Buy fresh, just ripe fruits that have a rich aroma and a uniform golden-orange color. Firmer apricots are easier to cook with but have less flavor. Ripe apricots are delicate and need to be handled with care. You can refrigerate them but they lose flavor quickly with storage, Use apricots as soon as possible after buying them

Wash fresh apricots thoroughly in cold water and shake dry. Where possible include the whole fruit in recipes, including the skin. The seeds are very easy to remove.

Culinary Uses for Fresh and Dried Apricots

  • Add a basic crumble mix to apricot halves and bake until golden for a great snack.
  • Fill apricot halves with goats or ricotta cheese and sprinkle with chopped nuts.
  • Fresh apricot juice is a delight and apricots can be added to fruit smoothies
  • Apricots go very well with pistachios or almonds in slices, biscuits, muffins, cakes and pies.
  • Apricots blend with and complement, many spices in savory dishes include ginger, nutmeg, mixed curry powders, cardamom, cinnamon, and star anise.
  • Apricots add flavor, richness and aroma to many savory dishes, particularly lamb and poultry in curries, stews, grills and baked recipes.
  • Apricots feature prominently in many desserts, sweet, candies and confectionery items and recipes
  • Apricots make great substitutes for plums, peaches and nectarines in most recipes.
  • Apricots are also used to make wonderful jam, marmalade, sauces, syrup, and jellies.
  • Sliced sections of the fruit can be added to salads and breakfast cereals
  • Grilled or baked apricots and added to grilled meat dishes and barbecues.

Great Apricot Recipes to Try

below are a few recipes for you to try that use fresh apricots.

Rich Fresh Apricot Tart

For the pastry:

  • 2 tablespoons almonds, finely ground
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, then cooled

For the filling:

  • 1 1/2 lb (750 g) fresh apricots, halved and pitted, but not peeled
  • 1 tablespoon superfine flour
  • 2 tablespoons rich flavored honey,
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
  • Icing sugar, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease or spray the side and bottom of a 9 inch (23cm) fluted tart pan with removable base. Set aside. To make the pastry, combine the sugar and melted butter a large bowl using a wooden spoon. Add the remaining pastry ingredients and mix to form a soft, ball of dough. Place the dough into the buttered pan and spread it over the sides and base using your fingers. The pastry should be thin and oven. Place the pan on the center shelf of the oven and bake until the pastry has puffed up slightly and firmed (about 12-15 minutes). Spread the chopped almonds over the bottom of the crust to stop the crust getting soggy.

To make the filling, whisk the honey and cream together, then add the flour and whisk again. Pour the filling into the pastry and add the apricots in a spiral shape cut size up. Put the remaining apricots in the center. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is set and firm and the pastry is a golden to light brown color (45-60 minutes). You can expect the apricots to shrivel slightly. When cooked, remove from the oven and sprinkle with a dusting of icing sugar. Cool before serving warm.

Classic Apricot Chicken Recipe

  • 1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, or basil, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh Apricots halved and pitted(1/2 cup Large Dried Apricots)
  • 405 ml can apricot nectar
  • 1 tablespoon Moroccan spice blend
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 large brown onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1kg (2 lb) (8 pieces) skinless chicken cutlets or drumsticks, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup plain flour

Add the salt and pepper to a large dish and roll the chicken pieces in it, shaking off any excess. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large deep frying pan or dish using moderate heat. Add the chicken in small batches and fry for 2-3 minutes per side until top and bottom are golden brown. Remove the chicken pieces as each batch is cooked. Add the garlic and onion to the frying pan and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the Moroccan seasoning and fry for an extra minute. Add the fresh apricots and fry to soften slightly. Then add the apricot nectar, increase the temperature and bring to the boil, then lower to a simmer. Cover the pan with a lid or a piece of foil. Cook for 30-40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked and the sauce has thickened slightly. Place ina serving dish and sprinkle with chopped parsley or basil.

Lamb with Apricots and Almonds

  • 25g (1 oz) toasted flaked almonds
  • 25g (1 oz) ground almonds
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 175g (6 oz) ready-to-eat dried apricots or 2 cups fresh apricots
  • 1 teaspoon clear honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • grated zest and juice 1 orange
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 garlic cloves , crushed
  • 1 onion , chopped
  • 550g (1 kg) lean lamb, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat the oil in a large frying pan or pot. Add the lamb pieces and fry over a medium to high heat in batches for about 3-4 minutes. The lamb should be evenly browned. Remove the lamb and set aside. Add the garlic and onion to the same pan (no need to wash), and soften the onions (about 5 minutes). Return the lamb to the pot and add the zest, stock, juice, honey, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 60 minutes. Then add the mint and apricots and simmer for another 30 minutes until the lamb is tender. Serve with extra mint and almonds on top of each serving.

Nutrition Facts for Apricots compared with Similar Fruit

Nutrient Value per 100 g
Apricots
Dried Apricots
Peaches
Plums
Nectarines
Energy
50 Cal
241 Cal
39 Cal
46 Cal
44 Cal
Carbohydrates
11 g
62.64 g
9.54 g
11.42 g
10.55 g
Protein
1.4 g
3.39 g
0.91 g
0.70 g
1.06 g
Total Fat
0.4 g
0.51 g
0.25 g
0.28 g
0.32 g
Cholesterol
0 mg
0 mg
0 mg
0 mg
0 mg
Dietary Fiber
2 g
7.3 g
1.5 g
1.40 g
1.7 g
Vitamins
 
 
 
 
 
Folates
9 mcg
28 mg
4 mcg 
5 mcg
5  mcg 
Niacin
0.6 mg
2.58 mg
0.80 mg
0.42 mg
1.13 mg
Pantothenic acid
0.24 mg
0.34 mg
0.15 mg
0.13 mg
0.18 mg
Pyridoxine
0.05 mg
0.15 mg
0.03 mg
0.03 mg
0.03 mg
Riboflavin
0.04 mg
0.07 mg
0.03 mg
0.03 mg
0.03 mg
Thiamin
0.0 mg
0.02 mg
0.02 mg
0.03 mg
0.03 mg
Vitamin C
10 mg
1 mg
6.6 mg
9.5 mg
5.4 mg
Vitamin A
1926 IU
3604 IU
326 IU
345 IU
332 IU
Vitamin E
0 mg
4.33 mg
0.73 mg
0.26 mg
0.77 mg
Vitamin K
3.3 mcg
6.1 mcg
2.6 mcg
6.4 mcg
2.2 mcg
Electrolytes
 
 
 
 
 
Sodium
1 mg
10 mg
0 mg
1 mg
0 mg
Potassium
259 mg
1162 mg
190 mg
157 mg
201 mg
Minerals
 
 
 
 
 
Calcium
13 mg
55 mg
6 mg
6 mg
6 mg
Copper
 
 
0.07 mg
0.06 mg
0.09 mg
Iron
0.39 mg
2.66 mg
0.25 mg
0.17 mg
0.28 mg
Magnesium
10 mg
32 mg
9 mg
7 mg
9 mg
Manganese
0.08 mg
0.1 mg
0.61 mg
0.05 mg
0.54 mg
Phosphorus
23 mg
71 mg
11 mg
16 mg
26 mg
Zinc
0.2 mg
0.39 mg
0.17 mg
0.10 mg
0.17 mg
Phyto-nutrients
 
 
 
 
 
Carotene–alpha
19 mcg
38 mcg
19 mcg
162 mcg
190 mcg
Carotene-beta
1094 mcg
1038 mcg
1094 mcg
67 mcg
35 mcg
Lutein-zeaxanthin
89 mcg
178 mcg
91 mcg
73 mcg
130 mcg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

© 2013 Dr. John Anderson

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Comments 1 comment

tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 3 years ago from California

I like the continuity of this series; Rosaceae foods. Had to really think about apricots being the most common of this family. You are right. All my life we have had apricots usually dried around the house. Love apricots. Voting up, beautiful, interesting and useful.

Still trying to get used to the beautiful pictures being in the middle, but its coming.

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