Natural Sun-Dried Apricot Production and Consumption Tips

Natural Sun-Dried Apricot Production and Consumption Tips
Apricot tree

Alperen Öztürk

Plant Biotechnologist

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General Information About Natural Sun-Dried Apricot

Natural Sun-Dried Apricot

Sun-dried apricots are obtained by drying ripe harvested apricots in direct sunlight without any chemical treatment, such as sulfurization.

How to Harvest Apricots for Sun Drying

The apricot harvest usually takes place over approximately three weeks, usually starting in mid-July. Hand harvesting is considered the best method as it minimizes damage to the fruit and tree, resulting in high fruit quality. The hand-picking process involves starting with the top of the tree and then moving to the middle and lower branches, ensuring that the fruit is at the same stage of ripeness. Traditional harvesting methods, such as shaking the branches and using a stick to knock the fruit to the ground, or modern ways, such as using eccentric shakers attached to the tractors, cause damage to the branches and result in contamination of the crop with soil and stone fragments. Additionally, both ripe and unripe fruit can fall during this process, causing significant quality losses. The aim is to minimize these quality losses during the harvest process to maintain the overall quality of the apricots for later processing stages.

How to Produce Sun-Dried Apricots

The apricots intended for sun-drying must be fully ripe before harvesting to achieve the desired brown-orange color and a sweet, syrupy, marshmallowy flavor. Of course, it takes more than ripe apricots and enough sunlight to achieve this color, flavor, and texture. It also requires years of knowledge and experience. Apricots should not be exposed to rain while drying since it can cause a slightly sour taste. The timing of harvest and duration of the drying process plays a pivotal role in the end quality of the product. 

Fortunately, the farmers of Malatya in Turkey, the apricot capital of the world, have this knowledge and experience in abundance. For this reason, almost every part of Malatya province is suitable for growing and drying apricots. This is the reason why the region has a reputation for its superior quality sun-dried apricots, produced with care and having an exceptional taste, color, and smell (the three most prominent qualities sought in dried apricots if one of them is missing, one of the trivets doesn’t mean as much).

The apricots, which are usually dried with sulfur and natural sunlight, are placed on the ground close to each other, and in addition, the apricots are kept under direct sunlight so that problems such as insects do not occur during the drying process (36-40 °C is the best temperature). Apricots should be dried on nets with tiny holes that allow contact with the soil and allow air to pass through. When the dried apricots reach a certain consistency after waiting under sunlight (3-4 days), their seed/pit should be removed. This process also requires great delicacy because if the apricots have dried too much, they become hard in texture, and it becomes difficult to take the pit out. Trying to take the kernel out is a good indicator. If it comes out quickly, it means that they are ready for this process. On the other hand, if they are too soft, the pulp tends to stick to the seed and come out with it, making the process difficult and decreasing the sellable weight of the dried fruit. This task alone requires serious attention and experience. After removing the pit, apricots are left to dry for 3-4 days longer (the total process takes around 6-7 days), and when they are sufficiently dry, they are stored in a cool and dry place.Consumption and Storage Conditions of Dried Apricots 

Consumption and Storage Conditions of Dried Apricots 

Dried apricots must be washed before consumption to soften the texture and clean the fruit (e.g., from soil and dust). After drying for a certain period of time, they become hard and are not very suitable/pleasant for direct consumption. Therefore, they should be washed and softened by moistening them a little before consumption. Especially if the fruits are kept under the sun for too long, but they become very dryhard in texture, and difficult to eat. The washing process should be done one or two days before the time of consumption; if the washed and stored fruits are kept too long, they lose their natural color and become darker, and if the sun-dried apricots are not stored in cold storage after washing, they become vulnerable to the worms. Unwashed fruit will last longer than washed fruit under normal weather conditions without deterioration, and worming is late. After washing them, they should be consumed in a short period. In general, dried apricots should be stored in a cool and dry place. However, if this is not possible, you can store them dry in the refrigerator at 4 °C (remember to wash them).  

Storing your dried apricots in such condition will protect them from damage from moths and worms, and form becoming rancid and moldy when wet; color may darken, and taste may deteriorate. The color, smell, and taste shouldn’t be spoiled, especially when the farmer wants to commercially sell his/her products at the optimum price

Packaging of Sun-dried Apricots

Packaging is a crucial aspect of apricot processing, as it protects the fruit and prevents quality loss. The quality and shape of the packaging are important factors in the dried apricot trade. The most common packaging method is inner packaging combined with a 12.5 kg cardboard box. However, there is a global trend towards smaller packaging sizes. Some countries import dried apricots in larger packages and repackage them into smaller ones, earning higher profits.

The Reason for the Price Range in Dried Apricots

There is a price range between sun-dried apricots supplied to the Turkish and Malatya markets. The reason for this difference is mainly the quality of the product. Of course, the price may be higher in distant cities as transportation costs are added.

Unlike other products in the market, if there is a significant downward difference in the price of a product, it is due to the defect of one or more of the three important quality factors (color, smell, taste) of the fruits. In short, the cheaper products may have deficient taste or smell and darker color. 

Another reason for price variation is the product size difference – the number of pieces per kilogram. A common misconception is that large apricots taste better than small apricots.


1.SAJAD SHAH, A. S. I. M. A., Bhat, S. V., Muzaffar, K., Ibrahim, S. A., & Dar, B. N. (2022). Processing Technology, Chemical Composition, Microbial Quality and Health Benefits of Dried Fruits. Current Research in Nutrition & Food Science10(1).

2.TAPAN, İ. (2023). Malatya İlindeki Coğrafi İşaretli Ürünlerin Değerlendirmesi. Fikriyat3(1), 41-64.

3.Tuğba, G. Ü. L., Dikme, R., & ASLAN, H. (2020). KAYISI ÇEKİRDEĞİNİN İNSAN SAĞLIĞINA ETKİSİ. İnönü Üniversitesi Sağlık Hizmetleri Meslek Yüksek Okulu Dergisi8(1), 175-188.

Further reading

Harvesting Apricot Trees – Apricot Tree Yield and Storage

Apricot Tree Information and Varieties

Apricot Soil Requirements, Soil preparation, and Planting

Nutrition Value, Health Benefits, Uses, and Interesting facts about Apricot

How to store apricots

Dehydrating Fruits and Vegetables for High-Quality Export

How to Dehydrate Tropical Fruits for Natural, Healthy Snacks


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