What are dried apricots?
Turkey is the largest producer of dried apricots with 82% of the worldwide market. The best apricots (Prunus armeniaca) are grown in the Turkish Malatya region where their dried apricots have a dry matter content of 24–30%. By comparison, those from other regions have a dry matter content of only around 20%.
When the apricots are ripe, they are harvested by hand and then dried using two methods. The first is natural drying in the sun which results in a coarse-textured brown dried apricot. The second is sulphur dried. This is when the fresh apricot is treated with sulphur dioxide to reduce the sun drying time, increase its shelf life and retain a golden yellow colour. Sulphur dried apricots vary in colour from pale yellow to orange with the deeper colour indicating a higher sulphur content.
Once they have been dried, the apricots are washed and sorted into one of eight grades before being packed.
Generally, small apricots are dried whole with the larger fruit being halved and destoned before drying.
Purchase dried apricots either semi-dried and succulent or fully dried. Be careful though, some semi-dried apricots have added syrup and are less beneficial due to their added sugar content. It’s best to always check the label before buying. Fully dried apricots should be soaked before using and can absorb large quantities of liquid.
Ideal for snacking but also delicious in tagines, stews and compotes. Also try them chopped in muesli, bread, stuffings and salads.