Sunday, January 8, 2012

National Apricot Day

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By Diane Forrest,

Many of you know about prunes, and the effect they have on your system.  They work as a natural laxative.  I remember growing up and seeing a large bowl of them on my grandmother's table every time I came for a visit.  Did you also know there is another fruit that has the same action?  Apricots, grown mainly in Turkey, are a part of the Prunes Family.  They are high in fiber and are sometimes used to relieve constipation and invoke diarrhea, sometimes after eating only 3.

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Apricots were also used as an aphrodisiac and inducer of childbirth.  This was mentioned in Shakespeare’s Mid Summer's Night Dream.  The Chinese believe that apricots are considered helpful in regenerating body fluids, detoxifying, and quenching thirst.  They have also been credited to lowering bad cholesterol and aiding in the decrease of prostate cancer.

The seed of the apricot, or pit, is sweet, and it is sometimes used in place of almonds in cooking.  They are also used in the production of Amaretto, and Italian liqueur.

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To the United States Marine tank-driving Marines, apricots are taboo, by superstition. Marine Corps tankers will not eat apricots, allow apricots onto their vehicles, and often will not even say the word "apricot". This superstition stems from Marine Sherman tank breakdowns purportedly having happened in the presence of apricot cans.

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Today is National Apricot Day.  In recognition of the day I am giving you my mother's famous recipe for Apricot Cake.  If you don't have time to bake a cake today, just pop a few dehydrated ones in your mouth.  They are good for your mouth, as well as your tummy.

Apricot Nectar Cake with Vanilla Glaze

1 box (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
3/4 cup apricot nectar
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 egg whites, beaten to stiff peaks

Vanilla Glaze:
·         1 cup powdered sugar
·         2 teaspoons butter, softened
·         1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
·         dash salt
·         1 to 2 tablespoons milk

1.    Beat cake mix with 3/4 cup apricot nectar, egg yolks, oil, and 2 teaspoons vanilla, until smooth.
2.    Fold in egg whites.
3.    Spoon into greased and floured tube pan.
4.    Bake at 325° for about 55 to 65 minutes.
5.    Cool cake slightly and remove from pan. Drizzle glaze (below) over warm cake. Combine vanilla glaze ingredients; stirring in milk until glaze consistency is reached.
6.    Drizzle over warm cake.

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