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Taste test: Dried apricots

Dried apricots.

Dried apricots.

When my husband went to college in Northern California, he picked apricots to earn extra money. Spending hours in the groves where almost all of the United States' apricots are produced didn't diminish his love of the fruit. But these days he prefers dried apricots as a snack if they can't be eaten fresh from the trees. Some of our panelists say they regularly snack on dried apricots and include them in recipes from baked goods to salads. This week, we tried six brands from California, the Mediterranean and Turkey. All were delicious, according to our judges. They preferred the brighter orange varieties that were preserved with sulfur dioxide. The darker, brownish apricots were dried without additives, and some judges said they weren't as juicy as the other options.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)
The Fresh Market Turkish Apricots 84Mariani Mediterranean Apricots 73Winn-Dixie

Mediterranean Apricots 62
Judges'

comments
Plump and juicy, these apricots would be perfect for adding to muffins or even a homemade trail mix, judges said. They were thick with a soft chew and lasting flavor. "They are really sweet and fresh and yet they still are a rich orange," said one panelist. "These look like they will be tasty without taking a first bite," said one judge. "They are really soft and chewy." Another liked the lighter color of these fruit bits, saying they wouldn't overpower her favorite apricot-glazed carrots recipe. "I would even use these in a rice dish," she added.These darker apricots were drier than the others but a couple panelists said they preferred the chewier texture. "I think they taste really fresh," said one judge. Another said he would mix these in a sangria punch. "They won't fall apart while being stirred and they will give a nice texture to the drink," he said. A judge said she would make sweet and tangy jam out of these apricots.
Would

they buy?
All four judges said yes.All four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$11.89 for a 19-ounce container.$4.98 for a 16-ounce pouch from Walmart.$3.50 for a 6-ounce bag.


Also Sampled: Sun-Maid Mediterranean Apricots ($2.99 for a 6-ounce pouch from Publix, 50 points); Trader Joe's ($4.49 for a 16-ounce bag, 41 points) and Great Value ($2.98 for a 6-ounce pouch from Walmart, 34 points).

Panelists: Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island; Wayne Conery, retired restaurant manager; Julie Overton, cook and bartender; and Molly Webber, New York University senior majoring in Global Liberal Studies and Media, Contemporary Cultures and Communications. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to mstark@tampabay.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

tampabay.com/things-to-do/food/tastetest.



Serving size5 pieces5 or 6 pieces1/4 cup
Calories100110110
Fat/Fiber0g / 3g0g / 2g0g / 0g
Sugars/Sodium21g / 0mg15g / 10mg21g / 0mg
Carbs/Protein25g / 1g25g / 1g25g / 1g

Taste test: Dried apricots 02/20/17 [Last modified: Friday, February 17, 2017 2:25pm]
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