dried apricots
Food - Drink
The Endangered Apricot Variety That's Often Sold Dried
Blenheim Apricots
The Blenheim apricot is an endangered fruit that today is only grown in small concentrations around the world. Although they’re regarded as a cut above comparable fruits, Blenheim apricots aren’t as widely consumed as they used to be, and because of their finicky nature, they’re often only available dried rather than fresh.
Blenheim apricots, a member of the Rosaceae family, are rosy-orange and quite small. Although apricots are native to Asia, some say the Blenheim apricot first achieved notoriety in France in the 1800s before making its way to England, Spain, and ultimately, the United States, particularly California.
Endangered Status
During WWI, demand for dried Blenheim apricots rose drastically, but after the war, fresh Blenheims lost popularity because they’re highly perishable, susceptible to disease, and don’t travel well. Add to that California's rapid urbanization, and Blenheim production dwindled from 32,000 tons to 4,000 in 2008.
Blenheim apricots are slightly larger than a ping pong ball, with a rosy orange color, a sweet and floral aroma, and a flavor that some have compared to honey. They are known for having a perfect balance between sweet and tangy, making them excellent for desserts, salads, and eating straight off the tree.
Because of the flavor of Blenheim apricots, they go well in several dishes. However, don’t limit yourself to salad, desserts, and cocktails, Blenheim apricots pair well with savory foods, like an apricot-praline panini, and if you're using dried apricots try a Moroccan couscous or add them to your baked oatmeal.