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13 Jul 2007

Tasty Tangy Apricots

It is always a thrill to see fresh organic apricots in the shops. They might be small but their flavor makes up for their size. Dried or tinned organic apricots are also very tasty, nutritious and always available and can be used in so many ways in your recipes.

Apricots are said to have originated in China over 4000 years ago and have been available in the West for hundreds of years. They are a member of the rose family.

They are very nutritious, being an excellent source of vitamin C and A, tryptophan, iron and potassium. Apricots, like tomatoes, are a source of lycopene. They also contain dietary fiber, especially the dried apricots.

Healthwise the vitamin A in apricots, in the form of beta-carotene, is excellent for good vision, healthy skin and helps the body fight against free radicals. The lycopene in them helps guard against prostate cancer in men especially if green tea is also added to the diet. The beta-carotene/lycopene combination is also excellent for health of the heart. The fiber in apricots makes them excellent for the digestive system and helps prevent comstipation. Apricots have an alkaline reaction in the system. Eating them before a meal is said to aid digestion. All parts of the apricot including the flower are used in Chinese medicine due to it's excellent health properties.

Shop for fruit which is plump, slightly soft to touch and a good orange color. Avoid fruit with a green tinge as it will not ripen. Best to eat as soon as possible after purchase or otherwise you can store them in the vegetable compartment of the fridge for a few days.

There are many ways of utilising apricots. Raw, juiced, added to sweet and savory dishes, pureed to replace oil in baked dishes, jams and jellies. Whether using fresh, tinned or dried apricots they are a handy fruit to have at all times in your kitchen.

The stone within the apricot contains a nut which produces apricot nut oil. More info on this oil can be found on my Herbs'n Oils blog.

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Apricot Couscous
From The Vegetarian Times
Cinnamon and cardamom are the sweet spices that give this dish its splendid fragrance.

1/3 cup whole almonds, blanched with skins removed
2 tbsps olive oil
2 stalks celery, diced
1 cup uncooked couscous
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water
1/2 cup thinly sliced dried apricots (3 1/2 oz.)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. crushed cardamom seeds
Pinch of asafetida (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Spread almonds in small baking pan. Bake, stirring every 5 minutes, until lightly toasted, 15 to 20 minutes. Immediately transfer to plate to cool. Meanwhile, in medium saucepan, heat oil over low heat. Add asafetida if desired and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add celery and cook 5 minutes. Add couscous and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in broth, dried apricots, salt, cinnamon and cardamom. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed and couscous is tender, about 15 minutes. Add toasted almonds to couscous mixture. Fluff grains with fork and serve. 6 servings


Aunty Tui’s Apricot Loaf
From Vegetarian Network Victoria (wonderful recipes on this site)

1 cup chopped, dried apricots
1 cup All Bran
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup soy-milk
1 cup self raising flour

Combine above ingredients except flour and stand in a bowl overnight in the fridge. Then add the flour and mix thoroughly. Place in a greased loaf tin. Bake at 180 degree Celsius for 1 hour.


Fresh Apricot Dessert Topping
From California Apricot Council

2 cups sliced fresh apricots (about 12 oz)
1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsps apricot nectar or orange Muscat dessert wine

Mix together apricots, sugar and nectar; set aside. Top shortcake, pound cake, vegan ice cream, frozen soy yogurt, etc. Makes 6 servings


Raw Applesauce Recipe
From Jolinda Hackett, Your Guide to Vegetarian Cuisine at About.com
No added sugar is needed, since this recipe is naturally sweet. Just be sure to use sugar-free, naturally dehydrated fruits or dates in order to make this recipe truly raw. If you're not concerned about it being raw, any dried fruit will work just fine. Try experiementing with dried peaches and pears, as well as apricots - yum!

3 large apples
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup dried apricots or other fruit OR 5-6 large dates

Place the dates or dried fruit in a small bowl and cover with the water. Allow to soak for at least 15-20 minutes. This will soften the fruit and make it easier to blend. Remove the core from the apples, chop into several large chunks each and place in blender or food processor. Add the fruit and the water and puree until smooth, adding a bit more water if needed. Garnish with a bit of freshly ground cinnamon if desired.


Quick Apricot Chutney
Sunset Jan, 1998
This simple, sweet-tart relish lasts as long as a jar of jam, which in my refrigerator can be many moons. Great with curry. Prep and cook time only 10 to 15 minutes

1 1/2 cups apricot jam
1 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup mustard seed
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger

In a frying pan, combine jam, vinegar, mustard seed, and ginger. Stirring often, bring mixture to a boil over high heat. Continue boiling, stirring often, until reduced to 2 cups, about 8 minutes. Makes 2 cups.


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Please support the protest against the Namibian Seal Hunt
Visit Boycott Namibia for info and film clips.

20 comments:

david santos said...

Hello, Jakie!
Thanks for your work and have a good weekend

Mihl said...

Apricots are my newest addiction, so it's great you posted about them. Thanks for the recipes, especially the raw apple sauce looks very tasty.

aTxVegn said...

What a fun post! Apricots, esp. fresh, are my favorite fruit. We don't get the fresh ones at a good price for very long here, but I enjoy them while I can.

dreamy said...

Apricots used with curry! That's an interesting combi, usually the only other fruit found in my curry is tomato haha got to ask my mum to try that out. Thanks for the tips of choosing an apricot too, I need these tips on how to select the the fruits and veggies :)

KleoPatra said...

Jackie, i love apricots!! i eat them dried for snacks more than any other. One of my fave flavours for sure is apricot. i appreciate your info, great as always!

Sheila said...

The couscous recipe sounds really good. Think I'll give it a try since couscous is so easy to make.

bazu said...

It is so hard to find a truly delicious apricot. I hope to find some at a farm or at least at a farmer's market, because some of the recipes you've posted sound mouth-watering!

The Namibian seal hunt, or any seal hunt for that matter, breaks my heart. =(

Marion said...

Those recipes sound delicious...think I will try the couscous and substitute millet.

Apricots aren't around for very long here, but I love them fresh or dried. One of my favourite fruits...thank you, Jackie!

Cherry said...

Curry apricot? That sounds interesting and unorthodox. But I prefer fresh to dried apricot, the dried one tastes too sweet!

Green Earth said...

Those tasty little organic apricots are one of nature's special treats. Thanks again for all the wonderful recipes. Your food is always special.

EMALMADA said...

Hello from Almada - Portugal
Have a nice day

urban vegan said...

I love apricots...and I hate the Namibian seal hunt. I added my signature to the petition....thank you so much for raising awarenss of this brutality.

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

I love your themed posts, and am happy to see it's apricot's turn! We recently picked buckets from my mom's apricot tree. Add apricot-pineapple jam to the list!! :)

kunika said...

hi
nice apricot recipes ,thanks for leaving comment on my blog.
www.sofeminine.blogspot.com

KleoPatra said...

Jackie, thanks for the super nice comments on my blog. i've been patiently waiting to see what's new by you... hope to see a post from you soon my Pisces pal!

Hugs from SoCal,
Karen

tippitappi said...

your blog is fantastic, so interesting and useful, you're a big help for every vegan,
Love from ITaLY!

Priya said...

wow, i never really thought of apricots in that way...but i love them so. :)

Naomi said...

I've always loved apricots Jackie. I didn't realise they originated in China. You learn something new everyday. The apricot couscous recipe sounds good.

Naomi said...

I bet the Apricot curry is good too. I prefer the sweeter curries with fruit added rather than the hot,spicy ones.

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