[NAFEX] apricots and sweetness
Lon J. Rombough
lonrom at hevanet.com
Mon Aug 16 12:14:24 EDT 2004
Your tastebuds aren't off. Most commercial apricots are not exceptionally
sweet, and the ones that can get sweet have to be dead ripe, too ripe to
handle even for a farmer's market. Then there are ones like the Hunza
apricots that were selected for drying. Craig Ledbetter, who is working
with them in California, says that some of the Hunza seedlings actually went
off the scale on his refractometer. Most refractometers go to either 28 or
32 Brix. Either way, that's an extremely sweet fruit. Grapes used for
raisins may be picked at 22 to 24 Brix.
I have read about apricots being sweet or super sweet, but every fresh
apricot I have tried recently has been a disappointment. I have tried fresh
apricots from various trees around town, but they were all bland. I paid a
premium for some at a farmers market. These were billed as super sweet.
That farmer had some really nice peaches, but the apricots only tasted
slightly fruity and not at all sweet. Not something I would seek out again.
I was starting to think maybe there is a genetic thing going on with my
tastebuds that makes fresh apricots seem bland to me. That¹s what I was
thinking until I tasted some new apricot varieties straight off the tree at
a Washington State University field day held over the weekend in Mt Vernon.
I am trying to track down the name of the varieties, but these apricots were
super sweet as advertised. I wonder if the sweetness in apricots rapidly
decreases after the fruit is picked. I know that sweet corn works that way
(sugars turn to starch if not eaten soon after picking). I may grow some
apricots now after having a good experience with them fresh off the tree.
Has anyone noticed super sweet apricots losing sweetness after sitting
around off the tree for a few days?
-Mark Lee, Seattle
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