Why we’re crazy for apricots! Hint, it’s not because they’re orange…

Ever tucked into an orange dried apricot and wondered why it’s such a vibrant colour?

Why we’re crazy for apricots! Hint, it’s not because they’re orange…

Well, we have a secret for you… dried apricots should actually be brown! But don’t worry if you didn’t know this, you’re not alone.

A survey ran by Crazy Jack (the home of organic dried fruits and nuts) found that 75% of people in the UK thought that they were naturally orange or yellow – a figure which isn’t surprising, as many companies will achieve the bright colour by using preservatives that contain sulphur dioxide.

Organic apricots are brown as they are grown as nature intended, without pesticides, and no preservatives are used during the drying stage. Crazy Jack’s organic dried apricots are dried naked beneath the sun in the Euphrates Valley in Turkey and as their sugars caramelise, they turn a deep, earthy brown that is rich in flavour.

But delicious, caramelised flavours are not the only benefits of organic dried apricots.

Crazy Jack soft, ready to eat dried apricots…

  • …have a low GI of 32 – that’s less than a banana! This means they can cause a gentler rise in blood sugar levels
  • … are only 70 calories per 40g portion, making for a perfect healthier snack that fits well within Government guidelines to eat low calorie snacks
  • …a source of fibre, protein, and antioxidants
  • …are great for the on the go as snacks, or can be used in a variety of dishes – from breakfast, to dinners, to bakes

So, the next time you’re out shopping, look for the brown variety, or seek out Crazy Jack’s organic version from Sainsbury’s, Ocado or independent health stores.

And if you’re looking for inspiration on how to cook with dried apricots, why not try these mouth-watering recipes – from an Apricot Tabbouleh with Feta and Chicken to an Apricot & Lemon Drizzle Cake and Halloumi, Apricot Kebabs with Cous Cous Salad.

For more recipe inspiration, visit www.crazyjack.co.uk or visit @CrazyJackOrganic on Instagram and Facebook.

Apricot Tabbouleh with Feta and Chicken

Prep: 15 minutes & cooling

Cook: 2 minutes

Serves 4

Method

1. Place the bulgur wheat and stock in a small saucepan, cover and bring to the boil. Take off the heat and allow to steam, covered for 5-7 minutes or until tender and liquid has been absorbed. Allow to cool in the pan.

2. Mix in the tomatoes, parsley, apricots and lemon juice. Gently stir in the feta and chicken and serve.

Ingredients

• 200g bulgur wheat

• 350g hot chicken stock

• 4 tomatoes, chopped (225g)

• 25g pack parsley, chopped

100g Crazy Jack Organic Soft Apricots, sliced

• Juice 1 1/2 lemons

• 100g feta, crumbled

• 200g cooked chicken, shredded

Crazy Jack tip: For a vegan option, omit the feta and chicken and use vegan stock powder.

Apricot & Lemon Drizzle Cake

Serves 8-10

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180oC, gas mark 4. Grease and line a 900g loaf tin.

2. Place 75g apricots in a bowl with 3 tbsp boiling water and leave for 10 minutes then puree with a stick blender.

3. Meanwhile, whisk the butter, caster sugar and lemon zest together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy, whisk in the eggs, 1 at a time and then the apricot puree and the juice of ½ lemon. Fold in the flour and almonds. Finely chop the remaining apricots and stir half of these into the batter, spoon into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes until golden and a skewer comes out clean.

4. Mix the granulated sugar with the remaining lemon juice and apricots and spoon over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. Allow to cool before removing from the tin.

Ingredients

• Serves 8-10.

• 175g Crazy Jack Traditional Dried Apricots, roughly chopped

• 100g butter, softened

• 150g caster sugar

• Zest and juice 2 lemons

• 2 medium eggs

• 100g self raising flour

• 50g Crazy Jack Ground Almonds

• 50g granulated sugar

Halloumi, Apricot Kebabs with Cous Cous

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 6-8 minutes

Serves 4

Method

1. Place the halloumi, pepper, tomatoes and 16 of the apricots alternately onto 4 skewers. Place on grill pan and grill for 6-8 minutes, turning once until golden.

2. Meanwhile, place the couscous in a small bowl and pour over the hot stock, cover with clingfilm and leave for 5 minutes. Fluff up with a fork and stir in the pine nuts, coriander and the chopped remaining apricots. Season and serve with the kebabs.

Cooks tip: Great for summer barbecues, make up the kebabs and couscous in advance. For a meat option, replace the halloumi with diced chicken or prawns.

Ingredients

• 250g pack halloumi, cut into 12 cubes.

• 1 yellow pepper, diced

• 8 cherry tomatoes (80g)

• 150g Crazy Jack Organic Soft Apricots

100g Crazy Jack Organic Wholewheat Couscous

• 200ml hot vegetable stock

• 25g Crazy Jack Organic Pine Nuts, toasted

• 14g coriander, chopped

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