Dried apricots

Apricot - dried apricot containing a stone. This product, unlike other dried fruits, is harvested from the tree already in finished form. Sublimation of fruits occurs naturally under the influence of wind and sun. Due to the integrity of the peel and the absence of chemical processing, it retains the maximum amount of nutrients. Apricots can also be dried in the oven, which will speed up the cooking process of dried fruit, but this will reduce the amount of nutrients in it.

Apricot is a natural source of potassium, magnesium, carotene, tocopherol, iron and phosphorus. Dried fruit is used to remove excess fluid from the body, thin sputum, improve intestinal motility, increase hemoglobin synthesis, and stimulate tissue energy exchange. In addition, the product is indispensable for patients undergoing therapy with diuretics, cardiac glycosides and laxatives due to increased potassium consumption.

In addition to therapeutic properties, apricots have excellent taste characteristics. It is suitable both for an independent snack and for making compotes, desserts, jelly, rich pastries.

Drying apricots

Considering that in 80% of cases market and store apricots are treated with chemicals, the question becomes more and more urgent: how to make dried fruit at home? For drying, it is better to use small-fruited varieties of apricots: Mirsangeli, Khurmai, Babai, Khasak, Isfarak, Kondak, Luiza, Subhani. Processing begins after the fruit ripens at the moment when they still have a slightly firm structure. For this procedure, you can use both the oven and the scorching sun. At the initial and final stages of drying, it is important to provide a lower temperature than in the main phase. Optimal indicators for the oven: at the start and at the end of sublimation - 50-65 degrees, in the middle of the cycle - 70-85 degrees.

Fruits should be sorted before processing. Remove green, rotten, wormy, overripe and damaged specimens, rinse the rest in two changes of water. To preserve a beautiful yellow tint, the product can be doused with boiling water or kept for 10 minutes in a weak solution of citric acid (5 g of acidic powder per liter of water). However, as a result of this treatment, the concentration of nutrients in fruits is reduced by a factor of three.

For natural drying, the fruits are kept for about 4 hours in a well-ventilated place in the shade, and then moved under the scorching sun. At nightfall, the container with raw materials is brought into the house. Duration of preparation of apricots takes 10-20 days depending on the climate.

To speed up the process, the fruits can be cooked in the oven. They are laid out on a baking sheet, which is placed in an oven well preheated to 50 degrees. After 60 minutes, the temperature is raised to 80 degrees. Before the end of drying, the oven is covered loosely, and the fruits are periodically turned over to evenly evaporate moisture. Ready apricots, which have lost 90% of the liquid, are easily identified by the dry, plastic brown pulp. When squeezed or cut, it does not stick and does not release juice. Despite the fact that the fruits have uneven humidity, when stored in a dry place, they acquire the same softness and structure after 7-10 days.

As a rule, about 300 g of apricots are obtained from 1 kg of fresh apricots.

In order to avoid the appearance of pests, it is better to store the product in glass containers under a tightly closed lid at a temperature of 18-20 degrees.

Chemical composition

Apricot is a record holder among dried fruits in terms of potassium content (1780 mg per 100 g of fruit). Along with this, the product is a natural source of phosphorus, magnesium and iron. Interestingly, in 100 g of dried apricots, a quarter of the body's daily need for these minerals is concentrated.

Table No. 1 "Energy value of apricot fruits"
Name Substance concentration in 100 g of dry product, g
Carbohydrates 53
Water 18
Dietary fiber 17.6
Proteins 5
Ash 4
Fats 0.4
Table No. 2 “Chemical composition of apricots”
Name Content of nutrients in 100 g of raw material, mg
Vitamins
Alpha-tocopherol (E) 5.5
Ascorbic acid (С) 4
Niacin (B3) 3.8
Beta-carotene (A) 3.5
Riboflavin (B2) 0.2
Thiamine (B1) 0.1
Macronutrients
Potassium 1781
Calcium 166
Phosphorus 152
Magnesium 109
Sodium 17
Microelements
Iron 3.2

In terms of nutritional value, apricots compete with dried apricots, figs and prunes.

100 g of pulp contains about 242 kcal. Despite the high energy index, the product can be included in weight loss programs, since 90% of its composition is complex carbohydrates, which suppress hunger for a long time and stimulate bowel function. With moderate consumption of dried fruit, saccharides are quickly utilized into energy, and not into fat, as a result of which a person feels a surge of vigor and strength.

Useful properties

Considering that apricot contains a huge amount of potassium, its main role is to improve the function of blood vessels and normalize the contractility of the heart muscle. The product supplies the body with dietary fiber that binds toxins and increases the volume of feces.

The benefits of apricots:

  1. Stimulates the synthesis of hemoglobin, prevents the development of anemia, improves the rheological properties of blood.
  2. Enhances myocardial oxygen supply, normalizes vascular tone.
  3. Improves cellular respiration, stimulates capillary circulation, promotes the transformation of fat into energy.
  4. Reduces migraine pain.
  5. Accelerates the removal of excess fluid from the body, prevents blockage of veins, lowers blood pressure.
  6. Strengthens bone tissue, normalizes the processes of contraction and excitation of smooth muscles.
  7. Increases visual acuity, improves the functional state of the cornea (dermis, hair and nails).
  8. Reduces excitation of the central nervous system, improves the passage of nerve impulses through neurons, increases mental activity.
  9. Neutralizes the action of free radicals, strengthens the capillary wall, prevents cell mutation.

To obtain a therapeutic effect, it is enough to consume 150 g of apricots per day (preferably in the first half of the day).

Indications for use (in complex therapy):

  • hypertension;
  • heart failure, heart attack, angina pectoris, arrhythmia;
  • anemia;
  • beriberi;
  • constipation;
  • vascular dystonia, thrombophlebitis;
  • neurosis, depression;
  • myopia, astigmatism;
  • bronchitis, tracheitis, whooping cough;
  • osteoporosis, arthritis, polyarthritis, arthrosis, sciatica, osteochondrosis, rheumatism of the joints;
  • headache, migraine.

Despite its benefits, apricots are contraindicated in people with hypersensitivity to beta-carotene. The product is used with caution in diabetes mellitus, low blood pressure, chronic pathologies of the digestive tract.

How to choose

Apricot ripened on the branches of wild Asian apricot is considered to be of the highest quality. The birthplace of such cultures is Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and China. However, due to the reduction in the number of varieties suitable for its production, such dried fruit has an extremely high cost (over 800 rubles).

To increase the volume of raw materials sold, producers often dry apricots not on a tree, but in special chambers, fumigating them with chemicals, such as sulfur dioxide. In view of this, the risk of acquiring low-quality products increases several times. In order to distinguish a useful dried apricot from a chemically processed one, it is important to know the characteristic features of each type of product.

How to choose natural apricots?

  1. Dried fruit, dried naturally, often has a nondescript appearance: a dull, wrinkled peel, dyed brown. If the surface of the fruit is shiny and bright orange, translucent in the light, the product has been treated with sulfur dioxide.

When buying prepackaged products, pay attention to the labeling. If the apricots are treated with chemicals, the label will say "E220" (sulphurous anhydride).

  1. Structure. High-quality dried fruit has a dense elastic pulp, which, when pressed, does not stick and does not release juice.
  2. Smell. Natural apricots are characterized by an unobtrusive apricot aroma without any foreign impurities. In a bouquet of artificially dried fruits, you can catch notes of soot and chemical reagents.
  3. Taste. Apricot ripened on a tree has sweet and sour fragrant pulp. If the fruits have a sugary honey core, they were treated with sugar syrup. Remember, overly sweet dried fruits are not very healthy, because the concentration of nutrients in them is reduced by 80%.
  4. Outer surface. The peel of a quality apricot should be wrinkled, but without defects and traces of mold. If whitish inclusions are present on the fruits, it is better to refuse to purchase goods.

When choosing apricots, it is advisable to use the “golden” rule: the more appetizing and beautiful the dried fruit looks, the less useful it is.

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Use in folk medicine

Due to the rich ingredient composition, apricots are used in alternative medicine to combat circulatory failure, heart rhythm disturbances, dysfunctions of the immune and nervous systems. The product is indicated when taking drugs (diuretics, glycosides and laxatives), which are accompanied by increased excretion of potassium.

Interestingly, 100 g of dried apricot fruits have the same effect on the hematopoietic system as 40 mg of ferric iron or 250 g of beef liver.

Useful recipes:

  1. Infusion for constipation. For its preparation you will need: 250 g of apricots and 900 ml of water. Washed fruits should be poured with hot water (80 degrees), and then kept in a warm place for 10-15 hours. After that, extract the berries, and strain the infusion through a sieve.

Directions for use: on an empty stomach, drink 600 ml of pure water (300 ml every 20 minutes), and after a quarter of an hour, 250 ml of apricot liquid. In the evening of the same day, you should eat soaked dried fruits 2 hours before bedtime. The course of treatment is 2 months. Along with this, you should drink at least 2 liters of water during the day. This treatment regimen will help eliminate the problem of even long-term constipation.

  1. General strengthening composition. Ingredients: Lemon (350g), Apricot Pulp (300g), Dried Prune (250g), Blue Raisins (200g), Walnuts (200g), honey (150 ml). Grind the solid components in a blender, and then combine with honey. The composition is taken daily at 20 ml twice a day in between meals. The remedy is indicated for beriberi, seasonal depression and chronic fatigue syndrome.
  2. Drink for fasting days. Pour 300 g of apricots with 200 ml of boiling water. After 10 minutes, grind the mixture in a blender or with a meat grinder. To the resulting mass, add 500 ml of freshly squeezed peach juice with pulp. Drink drink 3-4 times a day for 150 ml. Throughout the fasting day, you should drink at least 2.5 liters of water to cleanse the body of toxins.
  3. Mouth freshener. To eliminate the unpleasant odor for 5 minutes, you should chew the pulp of apricots after removing the bone.
  4. Means for hematopoiesis. Mix 100 g of apricots, 20 g of crushed berries of wild rose and 15 g of hawthorn. Raw materials pour 500 ml of boiling water and insist in a thermos for 6 hours. Strain the liquid and take 150 ml three times a day 20 minutes before meals. This remedy perfectly thins the blood, improves vascular tone, stimulates the production of hemoglobin.

In addition to the pulp of dried apricots, apricot seeds are also used for therapeutic purposes due to their content of vitamin B17. They are indicated for the treatment of laryngitis, bronchitis, whooping cough, tracheitis and asthma. When using the product, it is important to know the measure, since the assimilation of vitamin B17 occurs with the release of hydrocyanic acid. However, when the seeds are used in food in small quantities (no more than 15 g per dose), the poisonous compound gradually disintegrates, having a calming effect on the cough center.

Application in cosmetology

Given that apricot contains the most valuable “beauty vitamins” (beta-carotene, tocopherol, L-ascorbic acid), dried fruit is excellent for the care of dry and aging skin.

Beauty recipes:

  1. Nutrient composition for aging dermis. Combine chopped apricot pulp (50 g) and oatmeal (30 g). Mixture pour 50 ml of boiling water. After 20 minutes, add honey (5 ml), egg yolk and 2 drops of jojoba oil to the composition. Apply the mask on cleansed face and neck for 15 minutes. After the procedure, lubricate the dermis with a moisturizer. This tool not only nourishes the skin, but also cleanses the pores of impurities, preventing the formation of acne.
  2. Moisturizing mask for dry skin. Pour 50 g of apricots with 50 ml of boiling water. After 20 minutes, add homemade cottage cheese (15 g), sour cream (15 ml), honey (5 ml) and 1 drop of rose essential oil to the dried fruit. Stir the mixture until a homogeneous mass is formed, and then apply for 20 minutes on cleansed skin. Remove the mask with a cotton pad soaked in a solution of warm water and milk (ratio 1:1). After 5 minutes, wash with boiled water.
  3. Facial scrub. To prepare it, you will need a few apricot seeds. They are ground to a powder, and then combined with a cleansing gel. The composition is applied to the face with a cotton pad, gently massaging the skin along the massage lines. Scrub perfectly cleanses the dermis, contributing to the narrowing of pores. Owners of thin, atopic or acne prone skin should not use the procedure.

Interestingly, apricots are used as a natural ingredient in making homemade soaps. Dried fruit gives the cleanser not only nutritional properties, but also a beautiful golden yellow color.

Use in cooking

Apricot is a traditional product of oriental cuisine, an indispensable component of Asian pilaf. Along with this, it is used to make jam, jam, sauce, compote, tea, liquor and sherbet. Dried apricot pairs well with rice, oatmeal, yogurt, carrots, ricotta, hazelnuts, almonds, ginger and parsley. Like other dried fruits, it is suitable for making marmalade and marshmallows, as well as baking bread, muffins, pies, casseroles and tarts.

Given that high-quality apricots have tough flesh, the product is soaked in warm water for 1-2 hours before cooking.

Oriental pilaf recipe

Ingredients:

  • lamb - 600 g;
  • peeled carrots - 500 g;
  • water - 350 ml;
  • rice - 350 g;
  • apricot with a bone - 300 g;
  • sesame oil - 250 ml;
  • garlic - 4 cloves;
  • red hot pepper - 5 g;
  • spices (saffron, parsley, cumin, dill seeds) - to taste.

Cooking method:

  1. Cut the meat into large pieces, then fry it over high heat for 10 minutes.
  2. Add coarsely chopped carrots (about like french fries) and finely chopped onions to the meat. Simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the meat from the vegetable stew and put it in boiling water. Bring the product to completion.
  4. Transfer the meat to a separate container, and add the meat broth to the fried vegetables.
  5. Pour rice, apricots, spices and garlic into the gravy, after which the cauldron is set on fire.
  6. Simmer the cereal under a closed lid for 30 minutes, and then move the cauldron to the oven for 15 minutes. The optimum baking temperature is 150 degrees.
  7. Combine meat with cooked rice and mix thoroughly.
  8. Let the dish brew with the lid closed for another 10-15 minutes.

Serve pilaf with tomato juice or chili ketchup.

Apricot jam recipe

Components:

  • apricot (with pits) - 2 kg;
  • sugar - 1.5 kg;
  • water - 1 liter.

Cooking scheme:

  1. Wash and dry the fruits, and then remove the seeds from them.
  2. Remove the kernels from the bones and transfer them to a separate container.
  3. Boil water and add sugar to it.
  4. Place apricots in sweet syrup, bring to a boil. Do not cook the product.
  5. Remove the foam from the jam and leave it on the switched off stove for 8-10 hours.
  6. Boil the jam a second time and then refrigerate it for 8 hours.
  7. Add peeled kernels to the jam and boil the mixture for another 15 minutes over low heat.
  8. Pour the delicacy into sterile jars, roll up the lids.

Apricot jam can be used as an independent dessert for tea or as a filling for homemade cakes.

Conclusion

Apricot is a sublimated apricot with a stone, drying directly on the branches of a tree. The product is a natural source of potassium, magnesium, carotene, phosphorus and iron. In addition, it is rich in vitamins (B1, B2, B3, A, E, C), dietary fiber ( pectins ), gums, mucus and ) organic acids (citric, salicylic, nicotinic). Due to the rich ingredient composition, apricot has a hematopoietic, diuretic, antioxidant, immunomodulatory and sedative effect on the body. In folk medicine, it is used to normalize the heart rhythm, accelerate the removal of excess fluid, stimulate cellular respiration, improve the rheological properties of blood, and increase intestinal motility.

In addition to medicinal value, dried apricots have excellent taste properties. Apricots are used in cooking as an independent snack, both as an alternative to harmful sweets, and as an integral component of complex dishes (pilaf, marshmallows, marmalade, casseroles, muffins, pies). The product goes well with rice, yogurt, oatmeal, ricotta, almonds, ginger and hazelnuts.

Remember, only a quality product that has not been treated with chemicals can benefit. Apricot dried in the oven loses its nutritional value by 3 times. Natural fruits can be identified by their wrinkled, matte-brown skin and firm, elastic pulp. A shiny bright orange skin that releases juice when pressed indicates that the dried fruit has been processed with dyes.

Sources
  1. American Society for Nutrition. – Should you eat more dried fruit?
  2. U. S. Department of Agriculture. – Dried apricot.
  3. Calorie counting site. - Uryuk.
  4. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. – Consumption of dried fruits Is associated with greater intakes of underconsumed nutrients, higher total energy intakes, and better diet quality in US adults.
  5. Scientific electronic library "CyberLeninka". - Apricot as a remedy.
  6. International nut and dried fruit. – Let’s learn more about dried apricots.
  7. U. S. National Library of Medicine. – Dried fruit consumption and cardiometabolic health: a randomized crossover trial.
  8. Taylor & Francis open journal. – Dried fruit and public health – what does the evidence tell us?
  9. Start in science magazine. - Are all dried fruits equally useful.
  10. Electronic fund of legal and normative-technical documentation. - Interstate standard (GOST): dried fruits.
  11. Russian Institute of Consumer Testing. - Test: dried apricots.