Apricots are a delicious fruit that are available both in both fresh and dried forms. The convenience of dried apricots can't be beaten for portability without the mess. However, what if any effect does the drying process have on the nutritional value of the fruit?
Since the water in apricots is removed during the drying process, that means the sugar content goes up. Three fresh apricots have 10 grams of sugar, while five dried apricot pieces contain 19 grams of sugar. As a consequence of the drying process, all dried fruits and vegetables automatically have more sugar than their fresh counterparts.
During the drying process apricots, lose some of vitamins A and C, as well as all of their iron. This is because the vitamins are obliterated by air and heat exposure. The following percentages are based on the daily recommended value of each. Three fresh apricots contain 45 percent vitamin A, 20 percent vitamin C and 2 percent iron. A serving of five pieces of dried apricots contains 4 percent vitamin A, 6 percent vitamin C and no iron.
When it comes to calories, fresh apricots beat dried ones. Three fresh apricots have 60 calories, compared to 90 calories in a serving of five dried apricot pieces. During the drying process, most of the water in fruit is removed, which concentrates the sugar content and makes the calorie count higher.
Three fresh apricots contain 11 grams of carbohydrates. Five pieces of dried apricots have 22 grams of carbohydrates. Keep in mind that each of the dried apricot pieces are the size of a big prune. You get more food with less carbohydrates if you choose the fresh apricots over the dried ones.
Dried apricots have their place in your pantry for use as portable snacks and in muffin recipes. However, when it comes to choosing between fresh or dried apricots based only on their nutritional value, fresh is the healthiest choice.
Dried apricots must be stored in airtight containers at the coldest temperature available in order to prevent further nutrient loss. While dried apricots have a much longer shelf life than fresh ones, they should be eaten within less than a year after you buy them.
Another consideration when choosing between fresh or dried apricots is that a sulfate treatment is used during the drying process. This treatment exposes the fruit to sulphur fumes or dips it in a sulfate solution. This is done to prevent the loss of some vitamins, but it also destroys thiamine in the apricots.
Some people are allergic to sulfates and must be careful to read the ingredient labels on dried foods. Severe allergic reactions are possible if you are sensitive to sulfates. That's why the Food and Drug Administration has required sulfate treated dried foods to list sulfates on the ingredient label since 1987.
While fresh apricots have fewer calories and less sugar and carbohydrates than their dried counterparts, dried apricots can still have their place in your recipes and lunch bags. Fresh is best, but as long as you know the nutritional trade offs involved, dried apricots have their place in your pantry as well.