Just the thought of apricot season makes my mouth water.
Most of the year we have to get our apricot fix by eating bags of the dried stuff. Don’t get me wrong, dried apricots are flavorful and quench the need for a combination of sweet-tartness but there is nothing quite like a fresh apricot. The velvety fruit’s flavor profile is is a sure sign that warm-weather festivities are upon us. The apricot experience starts in May and ends in July, fleeting like the summer months. Just enough time for my husband to enjoy the apricot infused beer that hits the shelves this time of year.
The intoxicatingly delicious orange stone fruit is only about 17-calories and is packed with beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin A and C. The nutritional value is a winner for your eyes in times when crunchy carrots sound a little blah. The healthy fruit is also rich in antioxidants so eating an apricot helps promote wellness and strengthen your immune system. What are we at now…like a quadruple-whamy on the nutrition front?
With fresh apricots you can hit a goldmine of peach and plum-like tang or you can bite in and discover that your pale orange fruit is flavorless. When you are picking your apricot always look for the fruit that is plump and heavy. With apricots, softness does not equate to juiciness because it is not known as a juicy fruit. A better way to tell is to smell the apricot before you purchase because the scent of sweetness is a sign that your taste buds will be satisfied.
The joy of apricots is that it can be enjoyed in its raw form and in both sweet and savory dishes. Here are a few ideas to get the delicate and versatile floral aroma on your plate:
- Impress your guests with an apricot salsa that is divine on top of fish.
- Cut the fuzzy orange fruit in half, sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon and honey and put the beauties on the grill. Nothing says summer like grilled fruit!
- You know how much I love my figs, but during apricot season I would happily replace them on a white pizza with goat or mozzarella cheese. Drool.
- Roast a chicken with whole peeled shallots, halved apricots, sprigs of fresh thyme and a little white wine in the bottom of the roasting pan that will highlight the distinctive apricot fragrance.
- Add apricot slices to your morning (or afternoon!) cereal.
- If you are a fruit in your salad type person than apricots with a light vinaigrette dressing and fresh greens is a real winner.
- Have a bit of apricot heaven long after the season ends by making this simple apricot jam.
The fruit may resemble a butt and be soft as a baby’s bottom, but it is a gobble-worthy treat that will sit in my snack basket while sunbathing!
What is your favorite way to enjoy apricots? Are you going to the market right now to get some?