I love this time of year if for nothing else than mother nature's sweet treasures. Today's tasty treats hail from the Okanagan: the elegant apricot, one of the first signs that summer truly has arrived...not that I would be one to doubt with the little heat wave we've been having.
Several fact to confirm the apricot's status as a noble fruit: these beautifully orange coloured fruits are chalked full of beta carotene, lycopene, vitamin C and fibre. They've been known to protect against cataracts and prostate cancer. They were revered as aphrodisiacs in some cultures, and in the Hunza region (longest living and healthiest people in the world), a person's wealth was measured by how many apricot trees he owned. As early as 502, apricot seeds were used to treat tumors...they have a remarkably high amygdalin content and are a source of vitamin B17. The kernels are also often substituted in place of almonds to flavour Amaretto and the pressed oil is used for cooking or in cosmetics. (Quick side note: if you're going to try to do anything with the pits, please bake them first as the kernels can be poisonous if ingested raw in large quantities).
So what have I done with my apricots aside from eating? Give you one quick guess.