Apricots rank high in vitamins A (beta-carotene) and C, provide a good source of potassium, and contribute iron, calcium, phosphorus, and fiber to the diet. The bonus - they're low in fat, calories, and sodium.

Selecting Fresh Apricots

The fresh apricot harvest begins in mid-May and lasts for about eight weeks. When selecting fresh apricots, look for plump, well-formed, fairly firm fruit with a delicate aroma and golden orange color. Ripe fruit should be refrigerated. To ripen firm fruit, hold at room temperature or place in a paper bag with an apple or a banana.


Savory Fresh Apricot Bites
4 oz cream cheese, softened
12 fresh apricots, halved
1/2 cup pistachios, finely chopped
  1. Stir cream cheese until smooth; pipe or spoon into apricot halves.
  2. Sprinkle tops with pistachios.
  3. Serve as an appetizer, snack, or dessert.
    Makes 12 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 81 calories, 2 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 27 mg sodium, 6 g fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 1 g dietary fiber, 670 IU vitamin A, 116 mg potassium.

Apricot Stuffed Chicken
2 whole chicken breasts, boned, skin on
1/2 cup dry stuffing mix
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp ground ginger
4 fresh apricots (1/2 lb), halved
1/2 cup apricot jam
1 tbsp cider vinegar
  1. Place chicken skin side down and pound with a mallet to flatten slightly.
  2. Combine stuffing mix, onion, butter, and 1/4 teaspoon ginger.
  3. Spoon stuffing mixture in a strip along center of each breast.
  4. Place apricot halved on top of stuffing.
  5. Wrap chicken around filling; tie each chicken roll with a string every 2 inches.
  6. Barbecue on rack about 5-1/2 inches above medium-hot coals 15 minutes, turning once or twice.
  7. Mix apricot jam, vinegar and remaining 1/4 teaspoon ginger.
  8. Brush jam mixture over chicken rolls; continue cooking until done, about 5 to 10 minutes.
    Makes 4 servings
Nutrition information per serving: 340 calories, 17 g protein, 40 g carbohydrates, 163 mg sodium, 13 g fat, 62 mg cholesterol, 1 g dietary fiber, 1095 IU vitamin A, 368 mg potassium.

Chinese Apricot Chicken
1 whole chicken (4 LB), cut up
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sherry
3 tbsp catsup
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp peanut oil
6 fresh apricots (3/4 LB), halved
3 green onions, cut into 2-inch slivers
  1. Cut chicken parts into 2-inch pieces, using a cleaver, whacking straight down through the bone (or have a butcher do it for you).
  2. Combine vinegar, water, sugar, soy sauce, sherry, catsup, and cornstarch for sauce; set aside.
  3. In a wok or large frying pan, heat oil and stir-fry chicken over high heat 10 minutes or until tender and golden brown.
  4. Add apricots; stir-fry 1 minute.
  5. Pour sauce mixture over chicken; cook, stirring until thickened.
  6. Garnish with green onion slivers.
    Makes 6 servings
Nutrition information per serving: 812 calories, 58 g protein, 30 g carbohydrates, 819 mg sodium, 51 g fat, 227 mg cholesterol, 1 g dietary fiber, 1405 IU vitamin A, 825 mg potassium.

Apricot Pasta Salad
4 oz fusilli (corkscrew) pasta
6 fresh apricots (3/4 LB), cut into quarters
1 whole chicken breast, cooked and shredded
2 small zucchini (1/2 LB), julienned
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil or 2 tsp dried
Apricot Basil Dressing (recipe follows)
  1. Cook pasta as package directs; drain and let cool.
  2. Combine pasta, apricots, chicken, zucchini, red pepper, and basil in bowl.
  3. Toss with dressing.
    Makes 4 servings
  1. Combine 2 fresh, ripe apricots (pitted), 2 tbsp white wine vinegar and 1 tbsp sugar in blender; whirl until blended.
  2. With blender running, slowly add 1/4 cup vegetable oil until thick and smooth.
  3. Stir in 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp dried basil.
    Makes 1 cup
Nutrition information per serving: 270 calories, 11 g protein, 27 g carbohydrates, 19 mg sodium, 15 g fat, 18 mg cholesterol, 3 g dietary fiber, 2305 IU vitamin A, 568 mg potassium.

Apricot Pork Salad

3/4 LB pork chops (2 small or 1 large)
1 qt torn salad greens
6 fresh apricots (3/4 LB), cut into wedges
3/4 cup walnut halves, toasted

1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp tarragon, crumbled
1/4 tsp each marjoram and thyme, crumbled
1/2 cup vegetable oil

  1. Broil pork chops 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until done; cool (or place pork in microwave-safe dish with 1/4 inch water. Cook, covered, at high power 3 to 5 minutes or until done; cool).
  2. Cut cooked pork into narrow strips.
  3. Place greens in salad bowl. Top with pork, apricots, and walnuts.
  4. To make dressing, combine vinegar, sugar, and herbs in small jar; shake well.
  5. Add oil; shake well again.
  6. Toss 1/4 cup dressing with salad; refrigerate remaining dressing.
    Makes 4 main dish salads
Nutrition information per serving: 410 calories, 30 g protein, 17 g carbohydrates, 59 mg sodium, 26 g fat, 70 mg cholesterol, 3 g dietary fiber, 1665 IU vitamin A, 820 mg potassium.

Fresh Apricot Dessert Topping
2 cups sliced fresh apricots (about 12 oz)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons apricot nectar or orange Muscat dessert wine
  1. Mix together apricots, sugar and nectar; set aside.
  2. Top shortcake, pound cake, ice cream, frozen yogurt, etc.
    Makes 6 servings

Fresh Apricot Pies
2 tbsp lemon juice
10 cups sliced fresh apricots (4 LB)
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Double crust pastry for 9-inch pie(s)
2 tbsp butter
Cream or beaten egg
  1. Sprinkle lemon juice over apricots
  2. Blend in sugar, tapioca, and cinnamon; mix lightly.
  3. Let stand 15 minutes.
  1. Pour half of apricot filling into unbaked 9-inch pie shell; dot with 1 tbsp butter.
  2. Add top pastry; flute edge of crust.
  3. Brush top pastry with beaten egg.
  4. Bake at 425°F 40 minutes or until fruit in center of pie is cooked.

  1. Place half of filling in large freezer bag; dot with 1 tbsp butter.
  2. Squeeze out air and seal.
  3. Place in 9-inch pie pan; shape to fit pan and freeze.
  4. Once frozen, remove pan.

  1. Unwrap and place frozen filling in unbaked 9-inch pie shell.
  2. Add top pastry; flute edge of crust.
  3. Bake at 425°F 60 to 70 minutes.

    Makes 2 nine-inch pies,
    8 servings each
Nutrition information per serving: 552 calories, 7 g protein, 74 g carbohydrates, 406 mg sodium, 27 g fat, 17 mg cholesterol, 3 g dietary fiber, 1580 IU vitamin A, 391 mg potassium.

Apricot Ice Cream
1 can (12 oz) skimmed evaporated milk
1 envelope plain gelatin
3/4 cup sugar
6 fresh apricots (3/4 LB), diced
1-1/2 cups apricot nectar
1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
  1. Combine milk and gelatin in large saucepan.
  2. Heat, stirring often, until gelatin dissolves.
  3. Add sugar; heat until it dissolves.
  4. Using a wire whisk, stir in apricots, nectar, yogurt, and vanilla.
  5. Pour mixture into ice cream maker; freeze according to manufacturer's directions.
    Makes about 2 quarts
Nutrition information per 1/2 cup serving: 75 calories, 2 g protein, 17 g carbohydrates, 18 mg sodium, .5 g fat, 1 mg cholesterol, .5 g dietary fiber, 445 IU vitamin A, 126 mg potassium.

Apricot Cherry Cobbler
8 fresh apricots (1 LB), sliced
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups pitted fresh cherries (1/2 LB)
1 tbsp flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 tbsp plus 1 tsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp grated orange peel
5 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled
3/4 cup low-fat milk
  1. Heat oven to 375°F.
  2. Combine apricots and 1/3 cup sugar; set aside.
  3. Combine cherries and 1 tbsp flour; set aside.
  4. Combine dry ingredients; reserve 1 tsp sugar.
  5. Stir in orange peel
  6. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  7. Add milk; stir just to moisten dry ingredients.
  8. Combine fruit in buttered 1-1/2-quart baking dish; spoon batter over top.
  9. Sprinkle with remaining sugar.
  10. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Cool slightly and serve.
    Makes 8 servings
Nutrition information per serving: 255 calories, 4 g protein, 42 g carbohydrates, 205 mg sodium, 9 g fat, 21 mg cholesterol, 3 g dietary fiber, 1190 IU vitamin A, 309 mg potassium.

Apricot Bavarian
8 fresh apricots (1 LB)
1-1/2 envelopes plain gelatin
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups non-fat plain yogurt
  1. Drop apricots into boiling water to cover.
  2. Return to boil; simmer 5 minutes or until skins begin to split.
  3. Drain; rinse under cold water.
  4. Halve fruit; discard skins and pits.
  5. Puree apricots in blender or food processor; set aside.
  6. Combine gelatin and water in small saucepan; stir over low heat until dissolved.
  7. Mix sugar, apricot puree, and yogurt with a wire whisk until smooth; mix in dissolved gelatin.
  8. Chill until firm.
    Makes 6 four-ounce servings
Nutrition information per serving: 174 calories, 7 g protein, 37 g carbohydrates, 67 mg sodium, .5 g fat, 1 mg cholesterol, 1 g dietary fiber, 995 IU vitamin A, 433 mg potassium.

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California Apricots