Seasonal apricot, a fruit beyond dessert and six recipes (also salty) to take advantage of it
The apricot (Prunus armeniaca) is almost as ephemeral as the fine weather in which it sprouts. Along with peaches, melons and watermelons, it is one of the considered summer fruits, although its season extends from spring to September itself.
It is juicy, fresh, sweet and difficult to resist for any age, making it, due to its small size -manageable to say the least- a kind of candy with which to ensure sweetness but also properties.
Description and characteristics
Our orange star of the day has eastern origins, as its scientific name (Prunus Armeniaca) shows and it is common for it to be called albérchigo in some Andalusian provinces and in some areas of Castilla-La Mancha (a name that is sometimes given in America ) and as apricot, mainly in Andalusia, the Canary Islands and countries like Cuba, Argentina or Uruguay. Also in Spain it is found as a hostel in La Rioja and Aragon
A close relative of the peach (Prunus persica), as its appearance indicates, apricot is part of the rose family and shares gender (Prunus), in addition to peach, plums (Prunus domestica) and cherries and sour cherries (Prunus avium and Prunus cerasus).
Botany aside, the origin of the domestic apricot is in Central Asia, being very frequent in Iran, Armenia (hence its scientific name), Syria or Turkey, which is the largest producer in the world. It reached western Europe through the mediation of the Greeks and later of the Romans, who expanded it throughout the rest of the empire.
We owe the most popular name to the Arabs, picking up the term albarqúq , which is in turn inherited from the Greek and has to do with the early ripening of the apricot . Within our country, the areas with the highest apricot production are Murcia (which produces more than 60% of the Spanish total), Valencia and Zaragoza.
Physically it is an easily recognizable fruit. It measures between five and nine centimeters, is round and is characterized by a slit or groove in one of its halves. Its colors oscillate between light yellows and oranges and reddish, the red color not meaning greater maturation but, as a general rule, greater insolation. The apricot tree (apricot tree) is deciduous, it offers its leaf in the month of March and the fruit begins to be collected in June, being particularly sensitive to frost.
It should also be mentioned that apricot is a climacteric fruit. In other words, it continues to mature once it is collected from the tree. However, they must be picked well ripe to take advantage of their flavor and aroma. If they are caught prematurely, they are more acidic, harder and do not fully mature. Furthermore, they become relatively indigestible if they are eaten unripe or unripe.
When buying them, we should gently touch their meat and notice that it is soft but with a certain firmness. If it is hard, better not buy it. It is delicate to the extreme, so it is not convenient to squeeze it hard or put weight on them. They have a fairly short shelf life because they quickly lose freshness for raw consumption, beginning to wrinkle, a sign of excessive maturity.
The correct option to keep them at home, if we are going to have them for several days, is to put them in the refrigerator covered with a slightly perforated plastic or in a bag, not having to pile them up or bring them closer to apples, since these give off ethylene and accelerate the maturation.
Most common apricot varieties
There are certain fruits to which we are very used to knowing their different varieties, such as the apple (we know the golden, the fuji, the granny smith, the pippin …) or the pears (ercolina, blanquilla, conference, de San Juan) but the apricot is not plain apricot, but has a few varieties that makes them differentiate each other. Here we tell you some of the most popular:
- Bulida: Medium in size and present throughout the month of June. Here we find an apricot of intense orange color and often shows well-spread red veneers. It is firm meat, somewhat hard if not well ripened, and its meat is a deep yellow, especially under the skin of the redder veneers.
- Moniquí: One of the most demanded. They usually appear already in July. They tend to be large and their shapes range from round to semi-oval. The leather has a satiny and slightly grainy appearance to the touch. Its color is pale yellows and oranges, the characteristic red plates of other varieties not being frequent. Very sweet and highly demanded.
- Red Galta: It is one of the most popular in our country. It has a size between small and medium, an orange color with a red plate, where the sun shines, which is why it is called red galta (red cheek in Catalan). It is juicy, very aromatic and quite sweet.
- Currot: They are the first to reach the market. They are small and have delicate skin, whiter and pinker than orange, having a slightly acidic flavor. They are somewhat more flavorless and not so sweet.
- Nancy: It is the ideal apricot for those who are not very sweet. It is a large, spherical fruit and its skin is yellow, almost golden, marking an irregular red veining. The meat is tasty but slightly acidic and usually has its harvest peak in July.
- Canine: Between medium and large size, creamy yellow tones on its skin, being more intense the more ripe the fruit is, being able to present fairly pronounced veneers. The meat is orange, firm and very aromatic.
- Paviot: Large (8 or 9 centimeters) and skin of intense cream yellow color, including very attractive garnet plates. Its meat is also orange and very precious. It is one of the later apricots, its collection is normal in August and it is very tasty.
Fresh and loaded with water, the apricot does not have a high presence of carbohydrates (9.5g per 100g) or energy intake (40kcal per 100g), making it a good fruit for those who are on diets or want to keep the line.
Its great nutritional advantages are in its contribution of fiber (2.1 grams per 100g), perfect for improving intestinal transit, and for its abundant content of provitamin A (27mcg per 100g), known as beta-carotene, which has a great antioxidant value and where the vegetables and fruits of orange or red color come quite well stocked (carrots, tomatoes or red peppers).
This richness in beta-carotene provides benefits for our eye health, for the skin and enhances the proper functioning of the immune system. In addition, it also has a positive effect on our cardiovascular system.
It is a diuretic, because it has a high content of potassium (290mg per 100g), so it will be useful in people with high blood pressure or who retain liquids. Also, our intestinal tract benefits from ripe apricot, rich in tannins, which act as anti-inflammatories and natural astringents, so if we have heartburn, heartburn or slow digestions, it can be good for us.
Its ease of consumption, juiciness, sweetness and small size make it palatable to all ages, not requiring or removing the skin -just wash it- and not consuming the inner almond, which is bitter, although in countries like Italy it is used in liqueurs like amaretto .
Recipes to take advantage of the apricot
When we face a fruit it is difficult to resist the temptation not to eat it just fresh. . In the case of the apricot it is made even more understandable by that fleetingness that characterizes its season but in the kitchen it can give you very good results.
It is one of the kings of confectionery, providing sugar and juiciness naturally, but you do not have to take advantage of those that are bruised or more mature for your desserts. Nor should it be just an accompaniment to your colophons, since in first courses, in starters or with a second you can give it a start.
1. Pitas apricot pizza with goat cheese
- Small pita bread4
- Fresh goat cheese120 g
- Dijon mustard15 ml
- Zaatar or spices to taste (oregano, basil …)2 g
- Cherry tomato4
- Arugula bunchone
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Ground black pepper
Preheat the oven with the grill for gratin, or at 200º C with heat on top. Wash all the vegetable ingredients well and dry gently. Flatten the pita breads with a rolling pin and paint on both sides with olive oil.
Grill the loaves or grills, to leave them slightly golden, but without darkening much. Combine 100 g of the goat cheese in a bowl with the mustard, season and add zaatar or spices to taste. Form a cream and cover one side of each bread.
Cut the apricots into quarters or small pieces, discarding the bones, and spread over the pitas. Add a little salt and bake for 5-10 minutes on the upper level, so that they start to caramelize.
Cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters or small segments and the radishes into thin slices. Spread over the pitas adding arugula to taste and the rest of the cheese. Sprinkle with extra virgin olive oil and add a pinch of black pepper.
They can be taken directly or re-gratinated a bit. It is also an option to add more melting cheese, mozzarella or emmental type, so that it melts with the heat of the oven grill.