The sweet smell of apricots tells us summer has arrived here in the central valley of California! These small golden fruits originated in China and were later introduced to Europe and Armenia. In 1720, the apricot tree made its way to Virginia but it wasn’t until 1792 that the tree became popular in North America. Apricots not only taste good, they are also packed with good nutrients! Some of the nutrients found in apricots include: vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber and potassium, which can help protect your eyes and heart as well as your digestive system.
Apricots can be enjoyed dried or canned, but to receive all of their health benefits, it’s best to eat them fresh. Fresh apricots are in season in North America from May- August and are in season in South America or New Zealand during the winter months. Apricots are very unique in comparison to its relatives in the stone fruit family. They have a velvety textured skin and unique textured flesh that has the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Thru the years, the apricot has evolved and new varieties have developed that are sweeter than ever!
Many people find it is difficult to locate what they perceive to be the ‘perfect’ apricot flavor and texture - that elusive combination that evokes lazy late spring and summer days, their grandparents’ backyard, or a particularly poignant childhood memory. One of the reasons for this is the delicate nature of the apricot. Picked too early, apricots are hard and green tasting; too late and they develop ugly bruises if you have to ship them farther than your hometown.
So what’s a farmer to do? Pick the fruit as ripe as possible while ensuring it will make it to its final destination by picking the field multiple times per variety, leaving unripe fruit on the branch until it is at is optimum ripeness level. Still not satisfied? Enter the scene Apriums & Inter-Specific Apricots – by cross pollinating apricots with plums, then crossing them back with another apricot, you get the delicious flavor and most of the texture of the apricot with the transportability of the plum and an added bonus of increased juiciness.