Updated: Jun 1

Fresh fruit, at the peak of its ripeness, is beautiful, fragrant and flavorful. All of the dried fruits here at Baker Street Trading, with a couple of notable exceptions, share those same three desirable qualities possessed by their fresh counterparts.

Sun dried tomatoes

A perfectly ripe tomato, picked from the vine and eaten that same day with some fresh mozzarella and a nice vinaigrette is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. It is beautiful, flavorful and fragrant. A tomato that has been completely dried in the sun is also fragrant and amazingly flavorful. Even the hot water used to soften sun dried tomatoes is transformed into a veritable elixir, to be treasured and used whenever possible to add earthy, smoky complexity to stews, sauces, beans, etc. The long shelf life of sun dried tomatoes means that they are a mainstay in my pantry, and for that I am eternally grateful.

As for beauty, well that's another story. A sun dried tomato looks rather like a piece of shriveled shoe leather, or maybe something you'd find in a canopic jar in King Tut's tomb. Not too pretty to look at, but their superb flavor more than makes up for their rough appearance. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, isn't it?

Organic dried apricots

Fresh apricots and dried apricots alike have a delicate blushing color that is pleasant to look at and a fragrance that brings to mind happy, carefree, sunny summer days. Whether eaten alone, used to make preserves and pastries or as ingredients in Middle Eastern cooking, the thought of fresh or dried apricots always makes me smile. Fragrance, flavor and beauty come together in the pretty little package known as the apricot.

The organic dried apricot is something else...interesting, even intriguing.

When it comes to fragrance and flavor, I would consider the dried organic apricot to have a depth of character which is only beginning to blossom in its non-organic siblings. My analogy would be to compare Rita Hayworth in "Gilda" with Doris Day in "Please Don't Eat the Daisies." Both actresses (apricots) are wonderful, but there's a lot more going on with Rita. Tasting a dried organic apricot for the first time is a pleasant surprise, leaving one wanting to taste more.

As for beauty, forget about the Rita Hayworth analogy - it won't work here. Dried organic apricots look kind of bruised and slightly misshapen, and the color is an indescribable combination of purple, orange and brown. The resemblance to a fresh apricot is there, but it requires a second look to be sure.

Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is only skin deep. You can't judge a book by its cover.

If you haven't tried them yet, do try our organic sun dried tomatoes and organic apricots.