As a Turkish apricot lover, I always took Turkish apricots for granted. I did not know that Turkish was so unique until I went to study for my master’s degree in London.
What are Turkish Apricots?
Turkish apricots are produced from the apricot varieties grown in Turkey. Apricots are native to Turkey, and due to their local climate and soil preferences, Turkey grows the most apricots in the world.
For these reasons, Turkish apricots are the most consumed dried apricots in the world and are the most sought-after apricots.
Turkish apricots are mostly consumed in dried form. Also, Turkish drying techniques have slight differences.
There are mainly two techniques to make dried Turkish apricots. One of them is drying with sulfides, and the other traditional drying technique is drying apricots with natural sunlight.
Yet, the ones dried with sunlight taste better but look uglier.
In this post, I will explain all commonly asked questions about Turkish apricots, including some drying and storing tips for apricots.
Where are the Turkish Apricots grown?
Turkish apricots are grown in all regions of Turkey. However, you may not see them in East Turkey, where the average temperature is significantly lower than Turkey’s average. Source1
Turkey has 16% percent of all apricot production in the world. Yet, 70% of the world’s dried apricot production comes from Turkey.
One Turkish city, Malatya, produces 55% percent of all apricots and 85% of all dried apricots in Turkey.
This means if you are eating dried apricots anywhere in the world, mathematically, more than half of the time, you are eating Turkish dried apricots from Malatya, Turkey. Source2
Turkish locals also believe that the best apricots are from Malatya because of Malatya apricots’ unique taste and aroma.
Why are Turkish apricots better? Why are they unique?
The difference between Turkish apricots and regular apricots (like California apricots) is the apricot plant variety, climate, farming tradition, and drying techniques.
Fresh Turkish apricots are sweeter than California apricots. Yet, the apricot flavor is stronger in California apricot varieties.
Also, most Turkish apricots are dried with sunlight without additives. For this reason, Turkish dried apricots have darker colors yet are tastier.
Turkish apricots are better because of three main reasons.
- The first reason is the apricot plant variety and the climate. The apricots in Turkey have grown for thousands of years. Apricots have perfectly adapted to the Turkish climate.
- The second reason is tradition; Turkish farmers also have a long tradition of growing and cultivating apricot trees.
- The third reason is the drying techniques. In most parts of the world, like California, apricot fruit is sliced into halves when drying. Yet, in Turkey, apricot fruit is dried as a whole.
This Turkish drying method prevents apricots from losing their moisture and makes them thick and meaty.
Where to Buy Turkish Apricots?
It depends on your location. For my readers, I surveyed my Turkish friends in the USA and UK.
What Color are Turkish Apricots?
Fresh Turkish apricots can have white, cream, yellow, orange, and red colors depending on the variety of the apricot.
Dried Turkish apricots can be golden yellow, dark brown, or black, depending on the drying technique.
Drying techniques also have a big impact on the taste of the apricot.
If the apricots are dried with sulfites, the apricots become bright golden yellow with no texture on the surface.
If apricots are dried with natural sunlight and without sulfites, apricots become darker and nearly black.
Which Color of Dried Turkish Apricot is the best? How to Understand Organically Dried Apricots?
The Turkish apricots dried with natural sunlight and preservatives are natural and called day-dried (Gün Kurusu).
Apricots dried naturally with sunlight taste do not contain additives like sulfites, but sun-dried apricots look really ugly.
You can understand naturally dried Turkish apricots from their colors. Dark brown and blackish apricots are naturally dried with sunlight.
Also, when naturally dried, apricots gain surface textures; their surface is not as smooth as other dried apricots dried with sulfides.
This drying method is unique to Turkish apricots.
Yet, Turkish apricots are also dried with sulfites, which turn golden yellow when dried.
However, day-dried dark and ugly apricots are always considered the best tasting and top quality.
Are the golden yellow apricots bad for you?
The apricots dried by using sulfites have a golden yellow color, smooth surface, look better and last longer.
In this method, sulfites burn microorganisms, sterilize the apricot, and accelerate the drying of the apricot.
It is believed sulfites disappear quickly after you open the package of dried apricots. Low levels of sulfites are usually okay with everyone, yet high levels of sulfide are harmful.
One last tip to ensure your apricots are low in sulfite content is to check their smell.
Luckily sulfites have a strong odor. If your apricots contain high levels of sulfites, they will have a strong rotten egg-like smell.
How should you store dried Turkish Apricots?
Especially organic apricots dried in the sunlight can go bad very quickly. You can see worms forming in a short time once you open their package.
The sulfide-processed dried apricots last longer because sulfide sterilizes apricots by burning microorganisms. Yet, they would go bad eventually.
The best way to preserve dried apricots is to put them in the refrigerator.
I also will give you one tip that you can use to store any dried fruit more naturally.
You can put sage, thyme, or rosemary inside your dried fruit storage containers. These herbs will help your dried fruits last longer.
Another tip is to use sealed containers; the air’s moisture is not good for dried fruits.
If your dried fruit is hardened, you re-moisturize them with hot water before you eat them, and in fifteen minutes, they will be softer.
How to make Turkish apricots? How to dry your apricots?
There are many drying methods to make dried apricots.
The best one is drying apricots in the sun. The most simple and tasty way to make dried apricots is by using natural sunlight.
You make dark Turkish Apricots with your local apricots. Here are the steps to dry your apricots.
- Clean your apricots as a whole. Do not slice them.
- Put them on a clean sheet, and let them have direct sunlight.
- Let them rest under the sun for a few days, and take the seeds out. Do not slice them, just take the seeds. Drying as a whole fruit makes them softer by preserving the original moisture of the fruit.
- Let them rest under direct sunlight until they get brown and darker.
- When the process is over, put them in a sealed container with herbs like sage, thyme, or rosemary. Store them in your refrigerator.
Turkish Apricots Benefits?
Apricot contains significant amounts of A, C, E, and K vitamins. There are many other health benefits.
I attest to one of their legendary benefits. Apricots help you clean your digestive system.
Apricots are very high in dietary fiber. These fibers cannot be digested by your digestive system, and they are good at cleaning your intestines.
For this reason, apricots may help you make poop or can you give gas.
If you are in Turkey, you are in luck. There is a variety of quality dried apricots. Why not spoil yourself with different varieties of dried apricots or simply have an apricot feast like the picture below from Ciceksepeti.