These brightly colored fruits are rich in beta-carotene, vitamin A and fiber which makes them great for heart, eye, and digestive health. Apricots are often eaten dried, but eating the fresh fruit ensures the benefits of the high vitamin C content. Fully ripened fruits also provide the most antioxidants. Apricots are closely related to the peach and the plum, and share some of their characteristics such as fuzzy skin, velvety texture, and tart flavor.
Avoid commercially grown dried apricots, which are often treated with sulfur dioxide gas during processing to extend their shelf life. These sulfites can cause allergic reactions in about one percent of people, often those who suffer from asthma. Any apricots that bear the "organic" label will be sulfite-free due to federal regulations. Don't be scared off by unsulfured dried apricots' brown color -- they're a much healthier option for sulfite-sensitive consumers.