Apricots are among the most popular fruits in the world. They are rich in vitamin C and A, iron, calcium, fiber, and phosphorus. These nutrients make them ideal for people of all ages. Their soft texture and sweet taste complement a wide range of dishes, especially cobblers and pies.
In this post, we are going to discuss the secrets of apricot cooking and its incredible health benefits. Let’s get started!
How to Cook (with) Apricots
Here are a few simple steps to follow if you want to boil apricots:
- Rinse: Rinse your apricots under running water. If dirt is still visible after the rinse, use a soft scrub brush to remove and rinse again.
- Cut: After a thorough rinse, cut the fruit by hand or a knife in half and scoop the pits with a spoon or your fingers. If you don’t have a knife nearby, always feel free to use your hands.
- Peel: If you desire, peel the skin from the fruit.
- Boil water: Mix water and sugar in a large pot and boil the mixture
- Reduce heat: After bringing the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer the mixture until it slightly thickens. Avoid overcooking the liquid since it will lead to the crystallization of sugar.
- Add your fruits: Now it’s time to add the apricots to the mixture. Simmer until the fruit starts coming apart. This process should take an hour utmost depending on the ripeness of the fruit.
- Add lemon: Squeeze one or two tablespoons of lemon juice into the mixture and stir. Remove the pot from the source of heat and allow it to cool before you serve.
To effectively poach apricots, all you have to do is:
- Rinse: Rinse the apricots thoroughly. And then cut them by knife or hand into halves
- Don’t peel: Remove the pits without peeling the apricot
- Add flavors: Put your apricot fruits into a saucepan and cover them with clean water. Add cloves, cinnamon, or any other desirable spice to the saucepan to add flavor to the fruits.
- Start poaching: Poach the fruits for around eight minutes till they become very tender. When pressed by a spoon, they should be soft. However, they shouldn’t fall apart.
- Serve: Remove the fruits from the poaching liquid and serve. You can also consider storing them in a fridge to prepare fruit juice in the next few days.
Roasting apricots is one of the easiest things to do in the kitchen. You need to do:
- Prep your oven: Start by preheating the oven to around three hundred degrees Fahrenheit
- Rinse: Rinse your apricots thoroughly and cut them. Ensure that the cut sides face up in the roasting pan
- Add honey: Squeeze some honey on all the cut pieces and then add some butter on the center of each cut apricot piece. Sprinkle some sugar on top of the fruits.
- Roast: Now, it’s time to roast your fruits. You should roast your apricots for fifteen minutes at three hundred and seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit. Gradually increase the temperatures to four hundred degrees Fahrenheit.
- Serve: This entire process should take around 45 minutes. You should serve warm
You should keep in mind that ripe apricots are delicate and soft. And they can be difficult to cook with. Therefore, always go for slightly ripe apricots that are firm and delicious.
Apricots Health Benefits
Apricots are small round Armenian plums that are extremely nutritious and have a wide range of health benefits such as improved eye health and digestion. Here are some of the nutrition and health benefits of apricots:
1. Nutritious and low in calories
Apricots are rich in a wide range of minerals and vitamins. They are rich in vitamin A, C, and E, fiber, potassium, protein, and carbs. Further, the fruit is a great source of lutein, beta carotene, and zeaxanthin.
All these are powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body. Since you can enjoy apricots unpeeled and whole, the huge amounts of fiber greatly improves digestion. Always discard the stone inside the fruit because it is not edible.
2. Rich in antioxidants
Apricots are one of the best sources of antioxidants. They are in the category of flavonoids in the antioxidants family. And they have been proven to protect against dangerous illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.
Apricots have catechins, chlorogenic acids, and quercetin which are compounds that fight free radicals. Free radicals are dangerous compounds that cause oxidative stress and harm your cells.
3. Promotes eye health
Apricots are rich in xanthophyll and carotenoids. These nutrients are essential for eye health. These nutrients are especially important for weak or old eyes.
These nutrients protect your eyes from damages linked to age. The fruit also helps in protecting your eyes against excessive light.
4. Promotes skin health
Eating apricots is beneficial to your skin. Among the leading causes of skin damage and wrinkles are environmental factors such as pollution, the sun, and cigarette smoke.
Research studies have shown that there is a direct link between sunburns, exposure to UV light, and a type of skin cancer known as melanoma. You can fight these damages with a diet filled with apricots.
The fruit contains vitamin C and E which will protect your skin against damages caused by ultraviolet light and neutralize free radicals. Beta carotene will also protect your skin against sunburns.
5. Excellent source of water
Like other fruits, apricots contain a lot of water which can help in regulating body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and joint health. Since most people don’t drink eight glasses of water in a day, consuming this fresh fruit will help your body meet its daily needs.
Dehydration can lead to a drop in blood volume thus forcing your heart to work extra hard to pump blood. You need to stay hydrated for your blood to circulate nutrients and eliminate waste from the cells effectively.
Apricots are great fruits that are rich in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. They have a wide range of benefits which include improved skin, eye, and gut health. Dried or fresh apricots are easy to add to salads, yogurt, and other meals.