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