January 9th Is National Apricot Day

January 6th, 2012 by Craig Mullins

As with most unofficial holidays that celebrate a particular food, National Apricot Day seems to have no real origin. But hey, if it’s a way to get you to try something new with Apricots, then so be it.

Celebrate National Apricot Day with an Apricot-Themed Dinner!

Apricot Appetizer: Little Apricot Bites

What You Need:
12 fresh apricots, each cut in half
4 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped pistachios

– Stir the cream cheese until smooth and place a dollop in apricot halves.

– Sprinkle with chopped pistachios.

Entrée: Apricot Pork Salad with Dressing

What You Need:
6 fresh apricots (about ¾ pound), cut into wedges
1 large or 2 small pork chops (approx. ¾ pound)
Salad greens
3/4 cup toasted walnut halves (optional)
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp crumbled tarragon
1/4 tsp each crumbled marjoram and thyme
1/2 cup vegetable oil

– Start by broiling the pork chops for 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until done. Let cool then cut cooked pork into bite size pieces.

– Place the salad greens in a bowl and toss in the apricots, pork pieces, and optional walnuts.

– For the dressing, combine the red wine vinegar, sugar, tarragon, marjoram, and thyme in a small jar and shake well. Add the vegetable and shake well again.

– Before serving, pour ¼ cup of the dressing over the salad and toss. Keep the rest “on the side.”

Dessert: Apricot Ice Cream Pudding

What You Need:
4 fresh apricots
3 ¼ oz vanilla tapioca pudding
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ pint vanilla ice cream

– Make tapioca pudding according to the cooking directions on the package. When removed from heat, stir in the cinnamon then pour into serving dish. Place in fridge and chill until set.

– Once chilled, cut apricots into slices and arrange on tapioca.

– Just before serving, cut vanilla ice cream into cubes and drop one on each apricot slice now arranged on the tapioca in the serving dish.

apricot day holiday

Fun Facts About Apricots:

– Apricots originated more than 4,000 years ago in China. Spanish explorers introduced them to the New World centuries later.

– These days, about 95% of all apricots grown in the United States are from California.

– The word apricot is from the Latin “praecoquum”, which literally means “early matured” (because they ripen before the other fruits of their season).

– On average apricot trees grow to be 12 to 15 feet tall and can produce fruit for 20 to 25 years.

– Apricots are closely related to plums but have a richer flavor.

– The plant family Rosaceae includes both the apricot and the garden rose.

– The little fruit packs a healthy punch as an excellent source of beta-carotene (an anti-oxidant), fiber, iron, potassium, and Vitamin C.

– The beta-carotene in Apricots is converted to Vitamin A inside body, helping to protect your eyes and keep your gums, hair, skin, and a variety of glands strong and disease-free. It also helps protects bones and teeth. Research has found that Vitamin A plays an active role in fighting infection by helping to maintain a strong immune system.

– Three fresh apricots provide 30% of the recommended daily amount of beta-carotene.

– In addition to the beta-carotene, apricots are a source of other anti-oxidants like Vitamin C and lycopene. When combined, the two help to protect ones body against cancer, heart disease, and strokes.

– Canned apricots are nutritionally comparable to fresh and frozen ones.

– Dried apricots are over 40% sugar.

– The seeds inside the apricot’s seed “shell” are often used instead of almonds in central Asia and the Mediterranean, and the extract of apricot seeds is used to flavor amaretto and amaretti biscotti.

– The kernels inside the apricot are poisonous until thoroughly roasted.

– Apricots were eaten by Astronauts on the Apollo moon mission.

– Within the U.S. Marine Corps, apricots are a source of superstition among tank-driving Marines and are highly taboo. Tankers will not eat the fruit or even allow them in their vehicles; and often times there is a strict rule that word “apricot” is not to be spoken aloud. The belief that apricots will bring harm stems from Marine Sherman tank breakdowns that were reportedly happening whenever around apricot cans.

HAPPY NATIONAL APRICOT DAY!!

national apricot day

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