Apricot

The first sign of the Greek summer

There is an old, cheerful Greek song about a girl “worshiping” her boyfriend and describing him with “cherry lips and apricot cheeks”, because apricots in our culture really represent an image of health and vivacity!

apricot1So, apricots are these small, golden pink orange fruits, with the velvety skin and flesh, which look like chubby cheeks!

They are not too juicy but they’re definitely smooth and their flavor is sweet with a faint tartness.  Some people compare the apricot’s flavor with that of a peach or a plum, fruits to which it’s closely related.

Apricots are an excellent source of vitamin A which promotes good vision, a very good source of vitamin C and a good source of potassium. Apricots are also a good source of fiber, which has a wealth of benefits including preventing constipation and digestive conditions.

In addition, apricots contain powerful antioxidants like carotenoids and Lycopene. The high beta-carotene content of apricots makes them important heart health foods since it helps protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation, which may help prevent heart disease.

Apricots originate from China and they were introduced to Europe via Armenia, which is why their scientific name is “Prunus armenaica”. In Greece, their introduction to the territory is attributed to Alexander the Great.

Greece is one of the leading producers of apricots globally with an average of 45.000 tons per year. The most popular Greek varieties of apricots are the Bebekou and the Diamantopoulou apricots, both of which varieties are mostly produced in the Peloponnese and they’re extremely flavorful and tasty.

Enjoy your apricots like a Greek, fresh and sliced as a toping to your yogurt, or dried with a glass of rakomelo as a welcome for your visitors, use them to make a delightful spoon sweet, or a flavorful jam that will last all year in your kitchen, whatever you chose you won’t miss!

MLGFB Tip:

How to make apricot spoon sweet (6-8 portions)

apricot3Ingredients: 1 kilo (2,2 pounds) of not fully ripen apricots 1 kilo (2,2 pounds) of sugar, a lemon’s juice, 1 teacup of water, “asvestonero”: dissolve 2 tablespoons of pickling lime (asvesti) in2 kilos (4,4 pounds) of water

Preparation:

  • Wash the apricots thoroughly and remove the pits carefully with a small knife
  • Peel the skin off with a small knife or a peeler
  • Poor the “asvestonero” in a bowl, add the apricots and leave them there for an hour, or maybe a little more, depending on the ripening of the fruits
  • Rinse thoroughly the fruits and dry them with a kitchen or paper towel
  • Boil the water with the sugar for about 10 minutes and then add the apricots
  • Leave the mixture as it is for one night, so as for the apricots to release their juices
  • The next day thicken the mixture over medium heat and when it reaches the consistency of maple syrup add the lemon juice.

Photo Credits: Photo 1, Photo 2, Header Photo

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