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Scordia apricots are a small to medium-sized varietal, averaging 2 to 2.5 centimeters in diameter, and have an oval to oblong appearance with curved, rounded ends. Each fruit showcases a faint seam on one side, extending the length of the fruit, and the skin has a yellow-orange base, covered in bright red patches of blush. The skin is also semi-thin, smooth, and taut with a velvety texture. Underneath the surface, Scordia apricots have golden yellow-orange flesh encasing a large central dark brown stone. The flesh is soft and aqueous with a dense, chewy consistency. Scordia apricots have a concentrated, bright, and balanced flavor combined with equal amounts of sugar and acidity with a lively floral tang.
Scordia apricots are available in the summer, typically in June and July.
Scordia apricots, botanically classified as Prunus armeniaca, is a category of premium apricot varieties belonging to the Rosaceae family. The apricots are cultivated in Scordia, a commune on the Italian island of Sicily, and there are multiple varieties grown in partnership with Natoora, a British produce retailer. The seasonal fruits are exported from Sicily to Natoora locations in London and are sold as a specialty apricot with an elevated flavor, appearance, and texture. Varieties such as Flopria and Orange Ruby apricots are the primary cultivars grown and sold from Scordia in the summer. Scordia apricots are generally smaller than common commercially cultivated varieties, but their petite size forces the flesh to develop concentrated, rich flavors. This sweet and tangy flavor is typically enjoyed fresh by stone fruit enthusiasts, but the apricots can also be incorporated into a wide array of cooked preparations.
Scordia apricots are a source of potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, vitamin C to strengthen the immune system, and vitamin E to protect the cells against the damage caused by free radicals. The apricots also provide beta-carotene, natural compounds converted into vitamin A in the body to maintain healthy organ functioning, fiber to regulate the digestive tract, and other nutrients, including magnesium, iron, copper, calcium, manganese, zinc, and phosphorus.
Scordia apricots have a balanced, sweet-tart taste suited for fresh and cooked preparations. The fruits are traditionally consumed straight out of hand, displayed on platters with soft cheeses, sliced and tossed into salads and grain bowls, or halved and stuffed with nuts, spreads, and other fillings. Scordia apricots can also be chopped and stirred into yogurt, blended into smoothies, or used as a fresh topping over pancakes, granola, or French toast. In addition to raw preparations, Scordia apricots can be lightly grilled to develop a smoky flavor, poached with vanilla as a dessert, or baked into pies, cobblers, crisps, scones, cakes, cookies, and tarts. The fruits can also be blended into sorbet and ice cream, simmered into chutney and jams for toast, or cooked into sauces and glazes for roasted meats and vegetables. In addition to sweet recipes, Scordia apricots can be incorporated into soups and rice pilafs for added flavor complexity, or they can be dried for extended use, consumed as a chewy snack, or chopped and mixed into energy bars. Scordia apricots pair well with fruits such as strawberries, coconut, apples, cranberries, and peaches, dates, nuts including almonds, pecans, and walnuts, cheeses such as goat, brie, and mozzarella, seafood, and meats including poultry, pork, and beef. Whole, unwashed apricots will keep 3 to 5 days when stored in the refrigerator. Depending on the degree of ripeness, some fruits may be able to be kept on the counter for 1 to 2 days to fully mature, but once ripe, they should be immediately consumed for the best quality and flavor.
Scordia is an ancient city on the island of Sicily famous for its unique microclimate for growing stone fruits and citrus. The region is mainly known for its production of oranges, specifically blood oranges, and Natoora's partnership with Sicilian grower Carmelo includes shipments of both blood oranges and apricots. Carmelo's farm is situated above sea level on the island, allowing a cold night breeze to wash over the property to chill the trees while sunny, warm days mildly stress the trees to stimulate sugar production within the fruits. These temperature fluctuations help to increase the pigmentation in the fruits and develop a concentrated flavor. Carmelo's apricot trees are also traditionally water restricted to force them to intensify the sugars in the flesh without becoming diluted. Throughout the summer, various villages in Sicily will host sagras, small-scale festivals dedicated to local gastronomic products, including fruits. During the sagra, the village plays live music, hosts folk dancing, and incorporates fruits into various fresh and cooked preparations to promote the seasonal item.
Scordia apricots are cultivated by a specialty citrus and stone fruit farmer named Carmelo in Scordia, Sicily. Carmelo partners with Natoora, an international produce company, and grows multiple apricot varieties throughout the season to export to Natoora locations in London. Natoora distributes and supports the work of small-scale European farmers and sources exceptional produce from growers seeking transparency throughout the entire cultivation process. Today Scordia apricots mainly appear at Natoora locations in June or July and are valued as a unique seasonal apricot. The Scordia apricots featured in the photograph above were sourced from Eataly in London, England.