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I love fresh apricots, but I’m also a fan of dried apricots. The bright orange disks, about the diameter of a loonie or a toonie, are just delicious.
But I’ve recently found a darker, earthier dried apricot called an malatya apricot — they come from an Anatolian region of Turkey of the same name. The brand I found is packed by a company called Mariani out of Vacaville, CA; they are sun-dried and organic and dark, dark orange and even brown.
That’s because they have not been treated with preservatives and gassed with sulphur to preserve the bright orange apricot flavour and appearance. The sulphur dioxide gas prevents the fruit’s natural enzymes from reacting and softening and browning the fruit. The more sulphur you add, the brighter orange the apricot flavour.
I’m sure that with the tiny amounts of gas used that the process is quite safe. However, what I will say is that the flavour and slightly firmer texture of unsulphered malatya apricots is much better than their gassed-up cousins. I think the fact that they are organic is an added bonus too.