Lancaster International Trading Company (LITCO) & Enduring Sun reached out to me and asked whether I was interested in tasting some of their dried apricots and sun-dried tomatoes. Without a second thought, I said sure! I love dried fruit. It is such a great snack and is both healthy and sweet. These apricots are absolutely exceptional. LITCO gets all of their fruit from Central Asia and produces four types of apricots, Larissa, Jelena, Natasha, and Valentina. Each apricot looks slightly different and has a vastly different flavor. The Larissa are small and sweet. Jelena's are much larger and have both a hint of sweetness and tartness. The Natasha apricots are less orangy tasting and more lemony. Finally, the Valentina is most like the Jelena but smaller. I ate these apricots a few different ways. For starters, I ate them plain. They were the perfect snack food before working out. I also dipped some in chocolate and refrigerated them for a tasty dessert. I chopped some and used them to top a salad with them. With the remaining 18 ounces, I made two containers of apricot jam. As for the sun-dried tomatoes, they too are tasty. The sun-dried cherry tomatoes are from Morocco and are perfect sauteed in pasta or kept in olive oil to soften them.
You can purchase LITCO/Enduring Sun dried apricots and sun-dried tomatoes at their online store for incredibly reasonable prices ($7.50 for a pound of phenomenal dried apricots). I promise you won't be disappointed. Keep reading for two of my favorite recipes using their dried apricots. Also, don't forget to check them out on Facebook and Twitter.
Chocolate Dipped Apricots
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips per 5-8 apricots
- LITCO/Enduring Sun Apricots
- Using a double boiler heat chocolate chips. If you don't have a double boiler you can do 1 of 2 things. Either carefully heat the chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until melted OR bring a pot of water to boil and place a metal bowl over top with the chocolate chips in it, stirring until chips are melted.
- Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Dip half of each apricot into the melted chocolate and place on parchment paper to dry.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- 8 ounces of LITCO/Enduring Sun Apricots, any variety
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups water
- If you have a Vitamix, skip this step. Chop apricots into thin slices or small cubes.
- Place apricots (whole or chopped) and water in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand for at least 2 hours.
- If you have a Vitamix, place water and apricots in it and puree for 1 minute (Start on Variable, 1 and quickly turn it to 10, switching to High for 60 seconds).
- Place apricots in a large pot on low heat with lemon juice. Cover the pot and let simmer for 30 minutes.
- Turn heat to high and slowly whisk in sugar and vanilla extract.
- Let apricots boil, stirring occassionally until jam thickens. This should take roughly 15-20 minutes.
- Pour into a mason jar and let cool for 10 minutes.
- Place the lid on and refrigerate. The mixture will thicken and turn into a great jam.