A bright orange apricot is one of the first signs of summer and these delicious fruits with the velvety skin and flesh are in season in the U.S. from May through August. According to Whole Foods, fresh apricot fruit are a great source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, fiber, and potent antioxidants. And whether you prefer your apricots served fresh or dried, or are like the editors at Martha Stewart.com who can’t decide which apricot region they prefer, “we love the tangy-sweet flavor of California apricots, but Turkish apricots are delicious, too,” there is no going wrong either way.
Some describe the flavor of apricots as a faint tartness that lies somewhere between a peach and a plum, while others describe this rock fruit as downright sweet. We happen to love them because they go with just about anything. The generally sweet flavor of a ripe or dried apricot goes perfectly with any meal, from your bowl of oatmeal or plate of pancakes in the morning to more exotic meat and vegetable dishes from Northern Africa or the Middle East in the evening. Here are ten ways to get creative with apricot fruit that will be sure to sweeten up your life.
1. Broiled Apricots with Fresh Ricotta and Pistachios
Want an easy and unique dessert idea that’s pretty on the eyes? First dip your apricots in sugar and place them into the broiler until the apricots are caramelized and juicy. Then, in less than five minutes, remove the apricots and top with ricotta and pistachios. Add mint leaves for extra pop.
Read Related: 10 Unexpected Ways to Serve Peaches
2. Chicken Apricot Panini
This Panini will make you a very popular gal due to its secret apricot preserves mayonnaise that will leave your lunch companions drooling for more. Just cut that chicken breast into strips, add the provolone cheese, red onion, sage and pop it into your panini maker or on that hot grill. Pan-tastic!
3. Apricot Pie
My oh my, nothing screams “home-cooked” like apricot pie. All you’ll need is 2lbs of fresh apricots, flour for the pie crust, sugar, butter and nutmeg for a dash or pungent sweetness. The key is pulling the apricots with their skins apart into halves, discarding the pits. Serve with your favorite tea.
4. Apricot Glazed Ham
This recipe may fall under the easy category, but that isn’t the only reason why we like it. For ham lovers, the combination of the apricot preserves’ sweetness and the ham’s succulent saltiness goes perfect served with an understated rice pilaf and fresh crispy greens.
5. Ice Cream with Honey-Poached Apricots
Turn plain old vanilla ice cream into a gourmet event with apricots and toasted coconut cooked in honey syrup for an airy yet generous dessert. Just heat water, lemon zest and honey in a saucepan and then add the apricots (pitted and quartered). Then pour it all over the ice cream and add the toasted coconut. Simply delish.
6. Apricot Butter
This oh-so-special butter is going to become your go-to kitchen staple for every brunch or menu plan you create. Why? This creamy and sweet butter not only goes great on a plain piece of multi-grain bread, but melted on some grilled chicken or turkey breast or on practically anything you add butter to.
7. Apricot and Walnut Phyllo Cups
Need the perfect canapé for your Mad Men finale party? These vegetarian friendly cups of Phyllo are both fun and satisfying to the palate. All you’ll need are the dough, some dried apricots, crushed walnuts, orange juice, honey, cardamom, butter, lemon zest, and a muffin pan. Great with Martinis.
8. Quinoa Salad with Apricots, Basil and Pistachios
Need a perfect dish to bring to a potluck or a picnic in the park? Just cook up some vitamin and iron-rich quinoa, add seedless raisins, fragrant fresh basil and finely dice up some dried apricots. Serve as a main dish or as a perfect side with salmon or chicken.
9. Apricot Wheat Germ Muffins
Looking for a high fiber, low calorie breakfast or snack-time treat for your family? These scrumptious, nutty toasted wheat germ muffins with tangy dried apricots and honey burst with a naughty and moist flavor, but without all the guilt.
10. Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Almonds
In the mood for some Moroccan flavors to spice up your bland work week? With a half a cup of dried Turkish apricot fruits, separated into halves, along with a third of cup of whole blanched almonds, and a laundry list of colorful spices ranging from cilantro to turmeric, this apricot glaze over your browned chicken makes life all the sweeter.
Photos 2, 4, 6 & 8 courtesy of Food Network.com
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