Tuesday, January 8, 2013

National Apricot Day

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Chef Diane

Apricots are one of the oldest fruits known, being introduced to Greece by Alexander the Great in 106 B.C.  The fruit, which reminds me of a peach or nectarine, is actually part of the plum family.  Due to its extensive cultivation process, it is one of the earlier fruits produced, available in early spring, and most of the ones in the United States are grown in California.
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Not only is the fruit tasty, it also has medicinal purposes such as relief of constipation or inducing diarrhea, the same as the effect of prunes.  Apricots have also been considered an aphrodisiac, or inducer of childbirth.  In Chinese Medicine, apricots are considered helpful in regenerating body fluids, detoxifying, and quenching thirst.  They are good for a quick energy source, and contain Vitamin A, C beta carotine, and Iron.
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You can find packages of dried Apricots on the canned fruit aisle at your grocery store, and I have seen some sugar coated dried rings in the candy section.  My husband loved those because of their sour and sweet taste.
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Apricots are also used in cooking; there is apricot nectar in the juice section that can be used for baking cakes, making glazes for meats, and jelly for your morning biscuits.  Below is a recipe I found on cooks.com for making an apricot cake using baby food.  So, today, on apricot day, why not try some delicious apricots, fresh, dried or nectar They are good for your health, and a treat for your taste buds!
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2 c. sugar
3 eggs
2 jars Gerber apricot baby food
1 c. chopped pecans
1 c. cooking oil
2 c. self rising flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly with electric mixer. Bake in greased and floured tube for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

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