The origin of Apricots is not known definately. Various sources place it in present day Armenia, the Russian/Chinese border area, or Northern India.
Apricots have a firm low juice flesh that ranges from tart to sweet in taste, and have a smooth or velvety skin.
Apricots should be firm with no bruising, cuts, or soft spots.
How much does an apricot weigh?
Apricots are sweetest when they’re allowed to ripen on the tree. Those sold in most markets are slightly underripe and more durable. Allow them to soften at room temperature for a few days before using.
The aprium is a hybrid cross between a plum and apricot which has a mostly apricot heritage. Apriums are similar in appearance to Apricots but are slightly smaller and much sweeter in flavor. The sugar content of these fruits is much higher than that of a plum or apricot alone.
What You Need to Know about the Apricot
The apricot (Prunus armeniaca) is a stone fruit that belongs to the rose family and is a close relative of peach, cherry, plum, and almond. Despite its small size, the apricot offers many health benefits, such as treating cough, eye inflammation, constipation, and vaginal infections. Many admire this summer fruit for its attractiveness and tasty flavor.
Did you know that the apricot has been domesticated for over 4,000 years already? Read on to learn the fascinating history of the apricot and its common uses.
Many believe that the apricot originated from Armenia owing to the fruit’s long history of cultivation in the said country. However, evidence suggests that the apricot was first domesticated in China more than 4,000 years ago. The Chinese traded the apricot with the Indians and Persians, who called it zardalo or “yellow fruit.” The fruit spread throughout Europe through the Arabs.
During the 18th century, the apricot reached the United States through English settlers and Spanish missionaries. It is widely grown in California, where apricot produce constitutes 95 percent of the total production in the United States today.
The United States celebrates National Apricot Day every 9th of January.
Where Apricots are Grown
Today, apricots are grown in temperate regions around the world. They grow in all continents except Antarctica. The top five countries with the largest production of apricots are Turkey, Iran, Uzbekistan, Algeria, and Italy.
The apricot is a healthy fruit that is low in calories but rich in vitamins and minerals. According to FoodData Central, 70 grams of apricot contains the following:
- Calories: 34
- Carbs: 8 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: 0.27 grams
- Fiber: 1.5 grams
- Vitamin A: 8% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin C: 8% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 4% of the DV
- Potassium: 4% of the DV
The apricot has many fruit cultivars that belong to the species Prunus armeniaca. Below are some of the popular cultivars of this fruit.
- Tomcot. The tomcot comes in medium to large sizes with light orange color and pink blush. Its tree is one of the most popular apricot trees planted by home gardeners.
- Goldbar Apricot. The Goldbar apricot is very large and has a light-yellow orange color with reddish blush. It contains a moderate amount of juice but has excellent flavor. It is similar to Goldstrike in terms of flesh and skin color.
- Goldstrike Apricot. The Goldstrike apricot is a large and firm fruit. It is slightly juicy and sweet, but its skin often has an acidic flavor. Its sun-exposed cheek has a reddish-purple blush.
- Rival Apricot. This large and oval variety has a yellow skin with red blush. It possesses a mild flavor and a fine texture. Aside from being aromatic and slightly tart, the Rival has low acidity and mild flavor. The Rival apricot tree produces large harvests.
- Chinese Apricot. This medium-sized variety has a skin and flesh color that ranges from yellow to medium-orange skin.
- Tilton Apricot. The Tilton apricot is a medium-sized fruit that has an orange skin. It is best for canning or drying.
- Wenatchee Apricot. Also known as Moorpark, this large fruit has light yellow skin and a delicious taste. Just like the Tilton, this variety is also great for drying and canning.
- Robada Apricot. The Robada apricot is large and bears a sweet flavor. It has a firm flesh that turns deep orange when ripe. Its cheek exposed to the sun has a deep red blush.
- Perfection Apricot. As suggested by its name, the Perfection apricot is one of the finest varieties cultivated for commercial purpose. It is a large fruit with bright orange-yellow skin.
Other varieties include:
- Autumn Glo Apricot
- Blenheim (Royal) Apricot
- Bongo Fruiting-Flowering Apricot
- Brittany Gold Apricot
- Canadian White Blenheim Apricot
- Earli-Autumn Apricot
- Flavor Giant Apricot
- Flora Gold Apricot
- Harcot Apricot
- Harglow Apricot
- Hunza Apricot
- Katy Apricot
- Mokel Fruiting-Flowering Apricot
- Nugget Apricot
- Patterson Apricot
- Pixie-Cot Miniature Apricot
- Puget Gold Apricot
- Royal Rosa Apricot
Apricots are used for many purposes. They can be consumed as fresh fruit or processed for drying, canning, juice, jam, wine, liquor, and vinegar. Specifically, apricots may be used for the following:
- Medicine. Bitter apricot kernels are used in traditional Chinese medicine for creating a treatment for asthma and coughs, virus pneumonia among infants, and large intestine disease.
- Juice. The dried fruit or juice extract of Japanese apricot is used to concoct a cure for cancer.
- Soap. To treat dermatitis, apricot kernel oil can be mixed in a liquid soap formula.
- Water Treatment. Researchers are also looking into the feasibility of crushed apricot shells to be used in water treatment.
- Ornamental. Apricot trees may also be used for ornamental purposes.