Apricot: Sun-yellow summer fruit

Apricots are in season from May to September. Ripe fruits do not keep very long, even when refrigerated. Everything about ingredients, origin and preparation

There are nutrients such as potassium, iron and provitamin A in apricots

© Fotolia / Subbotina Anna

Ingredients of apricot

With 280 milligrams of potassium, 0.7 milligrams of iron and 1.6 milligrams of provitamin A (carotene) per 100 grams, the apricot provides plenty of nutrients. The body can convert carotene into vitamin A - important for the skin and eyes, among other things.

Apricots also contain vitamins B1, B2, vitamin C, calcium and phosphorus. These substances are important, for example, for carbohydrate metabolism, energy metabolism, the immune system and for teeth and bones.

Origin and botany

Apricots are said to have existed in Armenia, northern China and India as far back as ancient times. However, scientists do not agree on the exact origin of the stone fruit because all three regions appear in historical sources. The botanical name of the apricot is based on the assumption that the fruit comes from Armenia: prunus armeniaca. There, researchers found apricot kernels that were around 4,000 years old.

Alexander the Great allegedly brought the apricot to the Mediterranean region in the 4th century BC, and the Romans spread it in northern Europe. In the 18th century, the Spaniards introduced them to America. Today the largest cultivation area in the world is in Turkey. The fruit also has a mystical meaning: in Europe it was previously thought to be an aphrodisiac, in China it symbolizes a young girl or the desire to have children.

Apricots belong to the rose family. Prunus armeniaca is a stone fruit with a large core. In the core there is an almond-shaped seed. If you pound it, it develops a marzipan aroma. But be careful, the core can be poisonous (see box). The apricot tree is a tree up to six meters high that looks like a shrub. It does well in high temperatures and on sandy soil. Its rounded fruit is four to eight centimeters tall and has a seam that runs from the end of the flower to the stem.

Warning of bitter apricot kernels

Bitter apricot kernels contain the ingredient amygdalin. Hydrocyanic acid (cyanide) is released from this during digestion in the body. Larger amounts lead to poisoning, which in the worst case can even be fatal. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment therefore recommends eating a maximum of one or two kernels a day, but it is best to avoid bitter kernels entirely. Sweet apricot kernels that you can find in normal grocery stores, on the other hand, should not have any critical levels of hydrogen cyanide.

The flesh is soft and floury in overripe fruits. In the case of ripe fruits, the flesh can easily be removed from the core. The pulp and skin of the apricot are light yellow to orange-red. The side facing the sun is colored reddish. The skin is covered with fine hairs, it feels soft and velvety. The pulp tastes sweet as sugar to aromatic sweet and sour. There is a large variety of apricots with species that ripen at different times and differ in size, color, skin consistency and taste.

Season and storage of the apricot

Apricots are in season from May to mid-September. They are imported from Morocco and Spain in May and June. The main season is in July and August. Then the fruits also come from France, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Hungary. Apricots can be bought from overseas from late November to March.

Ripe fruits should be eaten quickly. They don't stay fresh in the refrigerator for much longer than two days.

Tips for preparation

Apricots taste best fresh. But they are also popular as toppings for cakes, made into jam, compotes, liqueurs or canned goods. If you heat them up, they lose their sweet taste: Then the sour fruits form a tasty contrast in sweet dessert bases. The Austrian apricot dumplings are particularly well known. Spicy in dishes with lamb or turkey give apricots a special touch.

Nutritional table: apricot (per 100 grams)

energy

kcal

46

fat

total (g)

traces

carbohydrates

total (g)

8

Minerals (mg)

Sodium (Na)

2

Potassium (K)

280

Calcium (Ca)

15

Magnesium (Mg)

9

Phosphate (P)

20

Iron (Fe)

0,7

Zinc (Zn)

0,1

Vitamins

Beta carotene (

µg)

1570

Vitamin E (mg)

0,5

Vitamin B1 (mg)

0,04

Vitamin B2 (mg)

0,05

Vitamin B6 (mg)

0,07

Folic acid (µg)

4

Vitamin C (mg)

9

Source:

Heseker H, Heseker B: The nutritional table, 5th updated edition, Neustadt an der Weinstrasse Neuer Umschau Buchverlag 2018/2019