"wet" dried apricots---what the heck?
I've purchased a lot of dried apricots over my lifetime. Usually they are dry (sometimes so dry they are like leather), sometimes they are moist, and often they are somewhere between dry and moist.
But today, when I fetched my well sealed bag of dried apricots from the basement, to make apricot-almond muffins, they were almost wet when I took some out. These are Maniani brand dried apricots from Costco. I saw no evidence of mold, and they smelled and tasted great, so I used them. (And the good news is that I am still alive :0)
But I was alarmed that they are so wet. I can't help but think that all that extra moisture could provide a dandy breeding ground for microbes. I plan to freeze these in small packages later today.
Has anyone else ever had "wet" dried apricots?
Moist, dried fruit scared you? That packaging may have been the culmination of some guy's life work. 35 years devoted to figuing out how to retain as much moisture as possible in packaged dried apricots. He probably got an inscribed, gold watch from the company the day he retired - "Your dedication to the science of food packaging is an inspiration to us all." And you're worried about microbes?
Me, I eat a lot of dried fruit. Love the stuff. And, I'm happy when the fruit in the package is still moist.
I've had commercial packages of very sticky, plump dried apricots and found those to be superior. In the ingredients list on the package ascorbic acid in some form was usually added as a preservative. I've found drier, more leathery commercial apricots tend toward being bitter. Since I've been drying my own I try to get a just sticky outside and a jammy consistency inside and these keep for a year for me (if they don't get eaten up sooner) in glass jars without any added ascorbic acid.
I get premium quality dried pears and apricots online from apricotking.com. They are quite moist, never spoil. A cynic might claim that it's a way of charging more for less actual fruit, because of the water weight, but the moister it is the more delicious it is. Last year I got bags of pit-in dried apricots, which they do only in limited quantity. The grower noted that less than the usual amount of sulfuring had been done to this run, so I would need to store them in the freezer, then soak before using. I soak them in cold water for half a day, then let them drain in a colander for a few hours before putting them in a big glass jar in the refrigerator. They keep that way indefinitely. Every week I put some into a smaller glass jar kept at room temp, since that's the best temp for appreciating their full flavor. No mold or spoilage at room temp either. The ones I soaked are so moist you could almost spread them like jam. Breakfast this morning was a just-baked Trader Joe's mini-croissant. Right out of the oven, I stuck a TJ's French truffle inside it, and once that largely melted, squashed one of these apricots into the croissant. Had it with my morning coffee, and died smiling.
Most dried fruit has antimicrobial agents added as preservatives. Sulphur dioxide is one of those agents. Check the bag label. You might be surprised at how well protected those dried apricots might be.
I know folks who refuse to eat dried fruits because of the antimicrobial agents listed on the package but they never complain about the wonderful Christmas cakes, cookies and breads.