Apricots or those beautifully orange colored fruits, are small, golden-orange fruit, with a velvety fleshy outer layer which is smooth and sweet. These fruits are full of beta- carotene, which are freshly available in summers. These much prized fruits are known to be brought in to Europe by Greeks, who named them as the ” golden eggs of the sun”.
Taking the servings of this fruit alone may sound a lot monotonous, but by simply snacking on an apricot, by tossing on an banana with the morning smoothie, and topping off a cup of yogurt with berries and apricots, means you have reached the goal.
The fruit is known to be originally from China, but is known to reach to Europe from Armenia. The apricot tree is known to come in Virginia in 1720, as the climate their is perfect to culture and grow apricots. The apricots, though consumed as the fresh fruits, can also be consumed as in their dried forms, which could be turned into pastry or could also be eaten as in the jam form.
Apricots are an excellent source of vitamin A, which is also rich in vitamin C , copper, potassium and dietary fibers. Apricots consist of a number of active anti-oxidants, among which the most popular and important is Lycopene. They also contain carotenoids, which give them a distinctive red, yellow or orange color. The fruit is also known to contain carbohydrates, sodium, vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Apricots are rich in many anti-oxidants, and are responsible for certain specific health benefits, which adds to the protective anti-oxidant properties while only adding to the little calories in our diet. A few health benefits of apricots include-
1. Protects against inflammation- apricots are known to contain phytonutrients which have anti-inflammatory properties, one of them which is catechins. It is known that a single apricot is known to provide 4-5 gm of catechins. This is done as this phytonutrient inhibits the activity of the enzyme called cyclooxeganse-2, which is critical for inflammation.
2. Protects eyesight- apricots are rich in carotenoids and xanthophylls both, which are known to protect eyesight from age-related damages. Thus, apricots are known to lower the risk of loss of vision as the age progresses, for the people who take three or more servings of this fruit everyday.
3. Protects against free radical damage- since apricots are known to contain a number of anti-oxidants, polyphenols and flavinoids, one might not hesitate to rank it as one of the richest fruits. Other important anti-oxidants like catechins, gallic acid, caffeic acid and ferulic acid are known to provide the potential health benefits.
4. Rich in dietary fiber- apricots are known to be rich in dietary fibers, which helps support the digestive system by the presence of the soluble fibers, which could help control the blood cholesterol levels.
5. Strengthens bones- apricots are also known to be high with the calcium content, which saves from having the brittle bones and thus strengthens the bones.
6. Skin benefits- apricots are known to be rich in anti-oxidants, promotes cell growth and maintains a healthy skin. Apricots reduce the aging signs, makes skin glow and shine. The amount of vitamin A in apricots makes the skin free from acne problems and rejuvenates it.
Therefore, some of the healthy recipes can be derived from apricots which are delicious too. Here are a few apricot dishes with their recipes-
1. Apricot cake-
A. Some fresh apricots
B. 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
C. 2 tsp baking powder
D. 1/2 tsp salt
E. 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
F. 3 eggs
G. 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
H. 3/4 cup vegetable cream shortening
Preheat the oven at 350 F, with a foil spread on the tray. Blanch the fresh apricots in the boiling water for a minute. Remove them from water, with skin removed and seeds removed. Process or blend the apricots, until finely chopped.
In a bowl, add together flour, baking powder and salt together and keep them aside. In another bowl, add eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, cream shortening and whisk until fluffy. Beat in the both the mixture, with the apricots folded in. Pour in the batter and bake for 30-45 minutes, until it is well baked.
Cool it at the room temperature, top with the vanilla cream frosting and fresh apricot slices and cut to serve it into desired slices.
2. Apricot chutney-
A. Some pitted apricots
B. 2 cup raisins
C. Brown sugar
D. 1 1/4 tsp salt
E. 2 cups cider vinegar
F. 1 tsp turmeric
G. 3/4 tsp cinnamon
H. 2 tsp mustard seeds
I. 1 lb brown onion, peeled and diced
J. t tbsp olive oil
K. 1/2 whole head garlic
All the ingredients should be mixed together in a saucepan. Bring the ingredients to boil, simmer it for about an hour, uncovered, until the juice or mixture has thickened. Stir carefully, because any splashes of chutney will be burning hot.Pour the chutney into warm sterilized jars and seal them.