Apricot

General Description/History

  • Skin colour can vary from yellowish green to deep orange
  • Flesh colour can range from pale yellow to deep orange
  • One seed enclosed in a pit

Apricots should be a deep yellow or yellow/orange, plump, well formed and fairly firm. Avoid dull looking, soft or mushy fruit or very firm, pale yellow or green/yellow fruit. The fruit’s characteristic flavour and sweetness develops on the tree. Fully ripened fruit have the best quality flavour, but due to their softness are difficult to transport and are highly perishable.

Apricots are delicious when eaten fresh or they can be used – in desserts, poached, stewed or pureed in jams, chutneys, pickles, compotes, salads or sorbets. They are lovely accompaniments to meats and poultry.

Although a deciduous tree, the apricot does have some special growing requirements. The apricot is a very early flowerer; therefore it cannot be grown commercially in areas subject to heavy spring frosts. It does however require the winter chill to break its dormancy and so produce fruit.

The most favourable growing conditions is a climate which is predominantly clear and dry, with fairly cold winters and only moderately high spring and summer temperatures. Apricots also need a fertile, well-drained soil and a good water supply.

Apricots originated in China, with the earliest reference to them found in Chinese writings of 2000 BC. Apricots spread to southwest Asia and the Arabs then introduced them to the Mediterranean. Eventually they found their way to Europe and in the 18th century became a garden plant in the United States and South Africa before arriving in New Zealand and Australia.

The apricot flourishes in many regions of Japan, North Africa, California and the Mediterranean and also grows wild in Siberia and Afghanistan.

The apricot is a member of the rose family. The fruit is known as a drupe that is a fleshy, one-seeded fruit that does not split open itself, and encloses a seed in a pit.

Nutritional Value

An excellent source of vitamin A and a good source of vitamin C and dietary fibre. Trace amounts of calcium, phosphorus, iron and thiamine. 85kJ/10Og.

Storage/Handling

-0.5 – 0°C and 95% relative humidity. Ripen at room temperature.

Consumer Storage: Ripen at room temperature and store in the refrigerator crisper.

Interesting Facts and Myths?

Apricots originally came from China. This golden fruit has been around for more than 4,000 years. Apricots progressively made their way through the Persian Empire to the Mediterranean where they were fondly adopted. Spanish explorers introduced the apricot to the New World.

In Latin, apricot means ‘precious,’ a label earned because it ripens earlier than other summer fruits.

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Botanical Name: Prunus armeniaca (Rosaceae)

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Growing Areas: 

QLD – Stanthorpe District
NSW – Bathurst, Dareton, Gosford, Hunter Valley, Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area, Orange, Tumut, Windsor, Young
VIC – Goulburn Valley, Mid Murray Area and Sunraysia
TAS – South East Region SA Barossa Valley, Riverland
WA – Donnybrook, Dwelling Up, Manijimup, Perth Hills