Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Mystery of the Disappearing Unsulfured Dried Apricots

Funny anecdote from a cooking class yesterday:

I had turned a client on to real dried apricots (on the right in photo), which have much more flavor than the commonplace bright orange ones which are treated with sulfur dioxide to increase shelf life and to promote their neon color.


(The darker apricots, when fresh, are nature’s gummi bears; even kids agree with me on that.)

“Lisa” bought the darker apricots several times over a couple weeks, only to have the containers disappear rather quickly. She didn’t know if her husband or kids were eating them, but she was happy they were getting eaten.

Recently, a day or two after buying a new container, she went to grab some apricots, but, again, they were all gone.

“Where are the apricots?” she asked in frustration.

“You mean the rotten ones?” her husband, who happened to be in the kitchen, answered.

As it turns out, he had thrown out all the containers, thinking the apricots were spoiled. Mystery solved.

Here are some tips for buying, storing and using unsulfured dried fruit:
  • To counter the shelf life issue, store unsulfured dried fruit in the freezer.
  • Unsulfured dried fruit is available in most health food stores and many progressive supermarkets; it shouldn’t be that much more expensive than the doctored alternative.
  • Eat dried fruit plain for a quick pick-me-up, or add it chopped to oatmeal or plain yogurt for sweetness.
  • Tell everyone in your household about your purchase.

3 comments:

Marcia said...

what is the problem with sulphur dioxide?

Chef Rob said...

Marcia,

Among other things, it's been linked to asthma, allergic reactions and respiratory issues.

The bigger issues:

Why do the big food companies need to add synthetic additives to almost everything?

The synergistic effects of synthetic compounds working in concert have never been studied. Why even take a chance?

Fancy Dirt said...

Thank you for posting the apricot comparison photo. I just opened my first bag of unsulfured apricots and recoiled in horror! Before eating one I went to google images and there was your picture. Yum!