Apricots are small, golden orange fruits with velvety skin and flesh’not too juicy but definitely smooth and sweet. Their flavor is almost musky with a faint tartness that is more pronounced when the fruit is dried. Some people think of the flavor as being somewhere between a peach and a plum, fruits to which they’re closely related. Apricots are full of beta-carotene and fiber and are one of the first signs of summer. Although dried and canned apricots are available year-round, fresh apricots with a plentiful supply of vitamin C are in season in North America from May through August. Any fresh fruit you see during the winter months have been imported from either South America or New Zealand. Apricots are originally from China. The apricot tree came to Virginia in 1720, but its appearance in the Spanish missions of California around 1792 marked the fruit’s real arrival. The climate there is perfectly suited to apricot culture then and now. Turkey, Italy, Russia, Spain, Greece and France are also leading producers of apricots. Nutrients in apricots can help protect the heart and eyes, combat cancer, control high blood pressure, shield against Alzheimer’s, slow the aging process as well as provide the disease fighting effects of fiber. One apricot has 17 calories, 914 IU of vitamin A, 3.5 mg of vitamin C, 1 gram of fiber and 104 mg of potassium. Look for fruits with a rich orange color while avoiding those that are pale and yellow. Fruits should be slightly soft. It they are too firm they have not been tree-ripened, and tree- ripened fruits always taste best. Refrigerate and use within two days once ripe. Apricot-Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies 1/4 cup canola or grape seed oil 1/4 cup 100 percent apple juice 1 1/4 cups maple syrup 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 tablespoons apricot jam 1/2 teaspoon baking soda Pinch of sea salt 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour 3 cups rolled oats Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the oil, apple juice, syrup, brown sugar, vanilla and jam in a mixing bowl. Stir well. Then add in the baking soda and salt followed by the flour and oatmeal. Stir to combine. Drop the dough by teaspoonfuls onto a parchment- lined baking sheets. Bake 15 minutes or until cookies just start to brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Next week: Cherries Facts in these articles are obtained from medical and clinical journals, scientific publications, and published tradebooks. These articles have been written and published strictly for information purposes. For any questions contact Susan at trijrsL@msn.com or www.fruitandveggienurse.com

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