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. Due to local climate soil differences, Turkish apricots are the sought-after apricots in the world.
Turkish apricots are mostly consumed in dried form. There are mainly two techniques, you can make dried Turkish apricots. One of them is drying with sulfides and the other drying technique is drying them with natural sunlight. Naturally dried ones taste better but look uglier.
Also, Turkish drying techniques have slight differences. For these reasons, Turkish apricots are the most consumed dried apricots in the world.
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 of the world. Yet, in the dried apricot category, 70% of the world’s production comes from Turkey.
One Turkish city, Malatya is producing 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 with their unique taste and aroma.
Why are Turkish apricots better? Why are they unique?
The difference between Turkish apricots and regular apricots (like Californian apricots) is apricot plant variety, climate, farming tradition, and drying techniques.
Fresh Turkish apricots are sweeter than Californian apricots. Yet, the apricot flavor is stronger in Californian apricot varieties.
Also, most Turkish apricots are dried with sunlight without additives. For this reason, Turkish dried apricots have darker colors yet 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 the tradition and Turkish farmers also have a long tradition of growing and cultivating apricot trees.
- The second 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 method of drying prevents apricots from losing their moisture and makes them more thick and meaty.
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 or 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 Turkish apricots are dried with natural sunlight and without sulfites, Turkish apricots become darker and nearly black.
Which Colour 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, there are Turkish apricots also dried with sulfites which these apricots turn golden yellow when dried. However, day-dried dark and ugly apricots are always considered as 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 it will also 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 on 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 to store dried Turkish Apricots Turkish?
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. 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 moisture in the air 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 drying apricots in the sun. The most simple and tasty way to make dried apricots 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, 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 the 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. One benefit of the apricot is legendary. It helps you clean your digestive system.
Apricots are very high in dietary fibers. These fibers cannot be digested by your digestive system, and they are good at cleaning your intestines. For this reason apricot may help you make poop or can you give you gas.
Where to Buy Turkish Apricots?
It depends on your location. For my readers, I surveyed my Turkish friends in the USA and UK. Here are the links (USA Amazon – UK Amazon) to the organic sun-dried Turkish apricots that my friends’ suggested.
If you are in Turkey, you are in luck. There 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.