The scientific name of the apricot fruit is Prunus armenaica. The origin of the apricot fruit is disputed. Some say it first originated in China and later arrived in Asia and Europe and then spread to other parts of the world. Other experts attribute Armenia as the place where apricots were first cultivated.
Apricots protect the eyes and gums
Fresh, dried or canned, apricots are one of the best sources of beta-carotene, with just one fresh apricot providing about the daily recommendation of vitamin A. Canned apricots provide three times more because heat processing breaks down cell walls, releasing additional beta-carotene.
The beta-carotene is converted to Vitamin A in the body. This nutrient helps protect the eyes and keep the skin, hair, gums and various glands healthy. It also helps build bones and teeth. Plus, research shows that Vitamin A helps to fight infection by maintaining strong immunity. For this reason, researchers are looking to apricots as a valuable source of beta-carotene’s healing power.
A good source of fiber, potassium and Vitamin C
Apricots are also a good source of fiber (about 2.5 grams for three apricots) and are bursting with potassium (about 300 milligrams in three fresh or eight dried halves).
Potassium is a mineral and electrolyte that helps you maintain proper fluid balance, aids in muscle function, and helps regulate heartbeat. Potassium also promotes healthy digestion and strong bones. Getting sufficient amounts of potassium each day can help you maintain normal blood pressure and might reduce your risk of having a stroke.
Apricots also provide Vitamin C. Vitamin C prevents many debilitating diseases and increases the body’s immunity.
How do you store apricots?
Apricots should be stored at room temperature until ripe and then kept in the fridge in a plastic bag or bin for three to five days. When storing, be sure to keep them out of direct sunlight.
How can you tell when apricots are ripe? One sign: the fruit is soft but not too soft; otherwise it may be overripe.
Dried apricots and your toddler
Have all the facts before offering dried apricots to your toddler. While most toddlers can safely eat dried apricots, there are certain dangers to address before giving them to your child.
Some children have allergic reactions to dried fruits, including apricots. The most common allergen is sulfite, which manufacturers use to preserve the fruit’s appearance before drying. Mold spores are also common in dried fruits, and though many people eat them without a problem, this will cause a reaction in a child who has mold allergies. Some who have tree pollen allergies also have difficulty eating dried fruits.
Always ask your toddler’s paediatrician before offering him dried apricots, or any other type of dried fruit.