Jan. 9 holds a special place in the history of San Benito County as the annual occurrence of National Apricot Day. There are several successful apricot farms in San Benito County, including ApricotKing Orchard, B&R Farms, The Farm Bertuccio’s and Gibson Farms.
With chronic diet-related diseases on the rise and people turning to making healthier food choices with diets rich in vegetables, nuts, whole grains and fruit, B&R Farms owner Mari Rossi said, “Our family has been snacking on dried apricots for over 90 years. We’ve found that thanks to the natural sweet and balanced flavor of the Blenheim apricot, it’s easy to make recipes that are simultaneously satisfying and wholesome.”
According to Nutrition and You, apricots are low in calories and are an excellent source of carotenoids, as well as vitamins A and C. They are also a good source of minerals such as potassium, iron, zinc, calcium and manganese.
B&R Farms shared some apricot snacking options made with simple, minimally processed ingredients: homemade apricot granola, gluten-free apricot and nut bars, and vegan apricot overnight oats. Rossi plans to visit local classrooms on Jan. 9 to help educate young minds about the heritage of Blenheim apricots and the role fruit plays in a healthy diet.
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup diced dried apricots
In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients except the diced apricots, until oats are evenly coated. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly spread mixture on a pan.
Bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Add the diced apricots two minutes prior to removing from oven.
For a crunchier granola, bake longer.
Gluten-free Apricot and Nut Bars
- 1 cup diced apricots
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1/3 cup rolled oats (gluten-free)
- 2 tablespoons agave syrup
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Pulse cashews in a food processor until crumbly, place in a separate bowl.
Pulse diced apricots in a food processor until finely chopped. Add all other ingredients to the apricot mixture and process until well combined.
Add the chopped cashews to the mixture and pulse until combined.
Firmly press the apricot mixture into 8×8 glass pan. Top with additional diced dried apricots and shredded coconut to taste.
Freeze for one hour and then cut into bars.
Vegan Apricot Overnight Oats
- 2 cups almond milk
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 1 1/3 cups old fashioned oats
- 3 tablespoons dried apricots
- Cinnamon to taste (optional)
- Berries or nuts for topping (optional)
Place almond milk and almond butter in a large mason jar, seal and shake to combine. Add in remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Seal and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy cold or heated.