Had a taste testing of dried apricots: Tilton (on the left), Supkhani (on the right), and an Anya seedling (on the bottom). All home grown and dried without sulphur or any preservatives (so color is not as nice as on commercial dried apricots).
I read that in Uzbekistan the Supkhani variety is mostly used for drying and now I understand why. When dried it develops a distinct, almost chocolaty flavor that intensifies in your mouth as you continue chewing. This flavor is somewhat similar to dried Sateni apricots that I tried in Armenia (the Sateni variety is also mostly used for drying). Fresh Supkhani apricots do not have this flavor.
Tilton apricots are larger, so when dried they give you more flesh to chew on, and the flavor is nice but not remarkable. I think that Tilton’s best use is for jam.
Anya seedlings are very sweet and when dried they become intensely sweet, but lack the flavor and juiciness (obviously) that make them outstanding when fresh.
So, it makes sense to use some varieties for fresh eating and others for drying. People in Central Asia and Armenia know their apricots. What’s your experiences with drying different varieties of apricots?
I haven’t tasted it yet, but I hear Tomcot has a more strong flavor, compared to other apricots. Would that make it better for drying?
That is interesting, I didn’t realize Supkhany was meant to be dried. I grafted over mine a long time ago when it was rotting (before I used synthetics) but I have been nursing a low sprout so should get fruits again in a few years.
I haven’t gotten enough apricots yet to have much experience drying… this could have been the year as I had many pounds but all got frozen out except for half a dozen fruits.
I think the Hunza types have many varieties that are meant to be dried. I have two Hunzas. They are not so interesting fresh, their main unusual feature is how sweet they are, but they could be good dried. I wonder what other middle eastern and central asian varieties are intended for drying, e.g. Zard etc.
I am drying and freezing two kinds on apricots, Tilton and Blenheim, along with other fruit. They are cut and dried on a cookie sheet, on two layers of paper towel to prevent browning under them for four hours in full sun in a greenhouse, no ventilation. They will start to oxidize, turn brown, longer than four hours. A lot of moisture in the fruit is removed by doing this intensifying the flavor.
After drying, they are put into a blender turning them to a paste. The paste is poured into plastic bags then frozen. The fruit packets can later be used for up to a year as freezer jam, slushies, pies, etc.
The flavor will stay intact. Dried fruit flavor at room temperature starts to degrade in a couple of weeks. I threw a lot of dried fruit away last season because of oxidation, the flavor turns to mud within a couple of months.
My methods are different. For freezing, I vacuum seal the apricots (cut into halves), and then put vacuum bags into the freezer. For drying, I use dehydrator run for 24–36 hours at ~ 120 F, then store in glass jars at room temperature.
I ate a few different varieties of dried cots last year, that I bought from a Tajik grocery store in Philadelphia. Unfortunately the varieties were not named. The best were a dark orange, sweet tart, large Tajik variety and a balanced sweet tart (more like subacid), light yellow, moderately large Turkish variety (unlike any of the Turkish dried cots that you find in any growers store). I also tried dark brown Turkish cots that were dried without any sulfur, and they were sweet but had developed distinctly different flavor than the sulfur-treated ones.
All those dried apricots look great! The best dried apricots I have had are Blenhiem and Tomcot, by far. But picking them at perfect ripeness and letting them sit on the counter overnight is key. I have not tried Supkhani though, and I am sure they are awesome. They look great, and @Stan grows awesome apricots! If anyone would like to try superior dried Blenhiem apricots you should try ApricotKing orchard in Holister Ca. They ship, go for the superior slabs, these are their ripest and largest ones. They are excellent, and you can keep them in the fridge without spoiling, highly recommended. Unfortunately, they do not taste like chocolate, but you can get them dipped in chocolate. Also, their dried pears are excellent as well, plain or chocolate dipped.
Nice tip! I just placed my order!