Relative of Peach & Family member of Rose
Apricot (Prunus armeniaca) is well-known as the miracle fruit of Ladakh – “Chulli”, also known as “Khubani” in hindi. It is a small drupe (stone fruit) closely related to peaches, plums, and berries. Its color ranges from yellow to orange, having a smooth and velvety surface with short hairs. The flesh is typically firm, not juicy. Its flavor is sweet and tart. It has a single seed enclosed in a stony shell with grainy, smooth texture. Apricot trees usually grow to 12-15 feet tall, producing fruit for 20-25 years.
APRICOT VS PEACH
Apricot: Small, smooth and velvety skin, less juicy and sweet, slightly tart, yellow to orange flesh, smoother stone
Peach: Slightly large, smooth and fuzzy skin, sweet and juicy, white to yellow to red flesh, hard stony pit
HISTORY & CLIMATE
It originated from China more than 4000 years ago and then emerged in Central Asia. It is native to continental climate region with cold winters. It is largely produced in Turkey and Iran. Now, it is cultivated on every continent except Antarctica. In India, it is grown in North-Western states. A dry climate is suitable for fruit maturation.
Apricot- National Fruit of Armenia
NUTRITIONAL MARKUP OF APRICOT
Apricot is a carbohydrate rich and low calorie stone fruit. In a 100 g quantity, raw apricots appear to supply 48 calories composed of 11 % carbohydrates, 1 % protein, less than 1 % fat and 86 % water. It is good source of fiber, vitamin and minerals. It is rich in potassium, iron, phosphorus, calcium, zinc, β-carotene, vitamins C, K and E. It also contains phenolic compounds (phenolic acids and flavonoids). It contains organic acids like malic acid and citric acid. These acids give the fruits, flavour, taste, shelf stability by slowing down bacterial spoilage and perform crucial roles in maintaining quality.
Did you know that the word “apricot” means “precious” in Latin?
Apricot is considered as a functional food having appreciable amount of bioactive phytochemicals. Studies say that apricot exhibits antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, anti-tumor, anti-platelet, anti-microbial, anti-allergic, anti-mutagenic, anti-ischemic properties.
APRICOT KERNEL (Seed)
Apricot kernels are the seeds of the apricot fruits. They are heart shaped, brown in color, sweet and bitter in taste. They contain 50% oil (linoleic, linolenic, oleic acids), 25% protein (albumin), 5% fiber. They are useful to treat cough & cold, breathing difficulties, digestion, increases immunity, wound healing and is good for skin and hair. Apricot seeds have some nutrients and have been used as an alternative therapy for cancer treatment.
Nutritional benefits of the apricot kernels are as great as the dangerous side effects of it.
Amygdalin enzyme is found in the highest concentration in apricot kernel making them toxic in nature. It is converted into cyanide after eating. Over consumption of kernel can cause cyanide poisoning. This poisoning can cause symptoms like headache, vomiting, nausea, feeling dizzy, blood pressure fluctuation. There is no recommended dosage for apricot kernel. One study shows that adults should not consume more than 3 small raw apricot kernels or half of one large kernel, and toddlers should avoid it completely.
Vitamin B17, also referred to as amygdalin, cannot be synthesized by body. It is found in many nuts, seeds, and plants.
Do apricot fruits cause cyanide poisoning?
Normal consumption of apricot fruit does not pose a health risk to consumers. The kernel is the seed from inside the apricot stone. It is obtained by cracking open and removing the hard stone shell and, therefore, has no contact with the fruit.
Cyanide level of the apricot kernel is much higher than almonds!
Are almond and apricot seeds the same?
Apricot kernel and almonds look similar and do have slightly similar taste. Apricot kernel has a smaller size than almonds. Color of the apricot kernel is paler than almonds. Apricot kernels can be sweeter or bitter.
FRESH APRICOT VS DRIED APRICOT
There is no doubt you’ve heard fresh is best. But one can be confused in case of fresh apricots vs dried apricots. Fresh apricots are a moderate source of vitamin A and vitamin C (12 % of the daily value each). When dried, the relative concentration of nutrients is increased, with vitamin A, vitamin E, potassium and iron having daily values above 25 %. Once dried, vitamin C content of apricot reduces while calorie content increases. Also, dried apricots are treated with sulfur dioxide to preserve their rich orange color. The sulfites formed in this process can cause severe allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to them. Dried apricot is a finger food but being stocky it tends to adhere to teeth. Therefore, dried fruit should only be eaten in small amounts, preferably along with other nutritious foods.
STORAGE & USE
You can find fresh apricots from early May through the end of August in markets while dried apricots are available all the time. They should be stored at room temperature until ripe. Refrigeration prevents apricot ripening. Ripening will make them softer but will not enhance the flavour of apricot. Placing apricot in a paper bag and away from heat or direct sunlight will speed up the ripening process. Dried apricots can be stored in sealed containers in a cool, dark place.
Do you know 9th January is celebrated as “National Apricot Day”?
Apricot is consumed in fresh, dried and frozen forms or used for preparation of jam, jellies, and marmalades, pulp, juices, nectars and extruded products. Fresh apricot should be washed under cold running water before use. Peeled or cut apricot can be dipped in diluted lemon water to prevent browning. You can eat 3-4 apricots per day.
ADVANTAGES OF APRICOT
- Good gut health: high fiber content of apricot prevents constipation, gastritis. They have laxative properties.
- Good heart health: The high amount of vitamin-C, potassium and fiber, all contribute to good cardiovascular health.
- Main blood sugar levels: Being low in calorie, high in fiber and moderate glycemic index, apricot controls sugar levels. High vitamin E acts as an antioxidant to improve blood sugar levels.
- Weight management: High fiber and low calorie fruit contribute to weight loss.
- Eye health: Rich source of carotenoids, vitamin E, β carotene, it prevents vision related ailments.
- Bone health: Prevent osteoporosis as a rich source of calcium.
- Treatment of anemia: It helps in formation of hemoglobin being iron rich.
- Reduce blood pressure: High potassium levels helps to maintain blood pressure.
- Good for skin: Vitamin C, vitamin A content of apricot helps to have healthy skin.
- Protect liver: apricots can protect against liver damage and ease the symptoms of fatty liver disease
- Prevent cancer
- Hydrate: Contain more water.
- Organic acids maintain acid base balance in the intestine and improve bioavailability of iron.
EAT HEALTHY & STAY SAFE!!!
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