page 1 page 2
page 3
page 4
page 5
page 6
< prev - next > Food processing Fruits vegetables and roots KnO 100212_Drying apricots (Printable PDF)
Apricots are relatively easy to dry and dried apricots are a popular product worldwide. They are a
good source of vitamin A, iron and sugar, and where they are in abundance, their processing can
provide valuable income-generating opportunities.
The methods of drying apricots vary from simple sun drying through solar drying to large-scale
artificial dryers. The traditional sun drying of apricots involves de-stoning the fruit and placing it
on flat rocks for approximately six to nine days. This produces a dried fruit with an uneven dark
brown colour and a tough, leathery texture. Using a solar dryer or artificial dryer produces a
higher quality product which will attract a higher market price. The choice of drying method
depends on several factors, including the local climate at the time of harvest and the intended
end-use of the dried apricots. Sun drying is really only an option in dry climates with plenty of
sunshine. In humid climates drying will take too long, during which time the apricots have the
potential to spoil. For home use of the dried fruit, it is preferable to use the cheapest method
available. In many cases this will be sun drying, but if a solar dryer is available, it is
advantageous to use it as the drying process will be speeded up and the end result will be a
higher quality dried fruit. Artificial dryers are only an option if there is a guaranteed market for
the dried fruits. The Practical Action technical briefs on drying give a good overview of the
principles and practicalities of drying and good advice on the choice of dryer.
In many places, sulphur dioxide is added to the fruit as a preservative and to give the dried
product a brighter orange colour. Sulphur fumigation is a hygienic, low-cost preservation
technique that maintains the colour of the food and kills the micro-organisms that cause spoilage.
However, some people are allergic to sulphur dioxide and other consumers prefer to buy fruit that
has not been treated with preservative. There is a small but growing market for naturally dried
apricots that have not been treated with sulphur dioxide. This brief gives further advice on how to
sulphur apricots if you wish to do so.
To produce a high quality dried apricot product the
following recommendations should be followed:
Traditionally, apricots are harvested by shaking the
tree and letting the fruit fall to the ground. The fruit
is then either eaten fresh, sun-dried or heaped in
the fields prior to pit removal. This practice of
shaking the trees and letting the fruit fall to the
ground, which is common in many countries, results
in damaged, bruised and dirty fruit. A high quality
dried apricot cannot be produced from a poor quality
apricot so this method of harvesting should be
discouraged. To reduce damage, the firm ripe fruit
can be knocked from the tree and collected in
outspread sheets held above ground level (see Figure
Figure 1. Collecting apricots
Practical Action, The Schumacher Centre, Bourton on Dunsmore, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV23 9QZ, UK
T +44 (0)1926 634400 | F +44 (0)1926 634401 | E | W
Practical Action is a registered charity and company limited by guarantee.
Company Reg. No. 871954, England | Reg. Charity No.247257 | VAT No. 880 9924 76 |
Patron HRH The Prince of Wales, KG, KT, GCB