Food of the Week

Awesome Apricots

Why do we love them?

One of the first fruits of Summer with a delicious, delicate flavour when eaten both raw and cooked.  They are a rich source of carotenoid phytonutrients such as beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin (both of which are pre-cursors to Vitamin A). They are also rich in lycopene

These antioxidant carotenoids not only provide apricots with their beautiful colour, but also with the ability to defend cells against oxidative damage caused by free-radicals.

How should I prepare them for maximum health benefits?

Peeling or slicing apricots releases an enzyme that is easily oxidised causing the flesh to turn brown when it is exposed to air.  This can be slowed down by dipping apricots into water which contains a couple of dessertspoons of fresh lemon juice

If they are used in a fruit salad containing citrus fruit, there is no need to do this.
Apricots are best eaten fresh and uncooked as their vitamins, antioxidants and enzymes cannot withstand high temperatures.

Why are they good for me?

Small but mighty!

Boasting mighty antioxidant status, these little beauties pack a punch with their beta-carotene content – beta-carotenes have been receiving attention for their anti-aging and anti-cancer potential, and also help promote a healthy immune system.  Apricots also contain flavonoid phytonutrients, and are a good source of Vitamin C.

Easy on the eye!

The concentrated source of Vitamin A in apricots may help to protect eye health as it can help to protect the lens from free-radical damage.

Digest this!

Apricots are a good source of fibre which has many health benefits, including promoting intestinal regularity and helping to balance cholesterol levels.

Did you know?

Don’t refrigerate apricots until they are ripe as they will not ripen in the fridge – to ripen, you can place them in a paper bag for 2-3 days.  The paper bag traps ethylene gas produced by the apricots helping them to ripen more quickly – keep in a dark, cool place.

What are my credentials?

Vitamin A, vitamin C, fibre, tryptophan, potassium, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, catechin, quercetin, phytosterols.
Dried (unsulphured) apricots are a good source of iron.

How to select me…

Look for apricots that are fully ripe if possible and have a rich aroma.  They should be soft with an even orange colour – vitamins and phytonutrients will be at their peak when the fruit is ripe – select organic fruits when possible. 

Serving ideas

Add sliced fresh apricots to yogurt or porridge.  Apricots make a great addition to fresh fruit salads or chopped into green salads.

Source: WHF, Mateljan, G.