I just love that letter A. Can you think of any other A words to describe an apricot? I bet you can. Anyway, let me introduce you to my world.
We apricots - like peaches, nectarines, plums and cherries - belong to a group called stone fruits, not because we’re cold and hard-hearted (we’re actually quite sweet) but because we have a tough, inedible seed in our centre.
We grow on splendid trees that can reach 7 metres in height. They look like opened umbrellas when fully mature, with a canopy of dark green leaves which glisten in the sun. As our parent trees age their bark grows dark and often becoming twisted and gnarled but this doesn’t stop them producing tender, young fruit like me.
We grow to about the size of a ping pong ball (do you play ping pong?), but can come in different shapes from plump or round to oval; some of us have a distinct groove running from top to bottom which gives us a cute look, while others have flattish sides or a distinctly pointed end.
Now don’t think me conceited but our complexion is simply stunning. We’ve a soft and downy skin, which ranges in colour from pale yellow to orange (we don’t really like using the word orange, we prefer to think of that fruit having an apricot hue) - and the shy ones among us often flush with pink or red, but don’t mind that they’re delicious too. We smell divine and we taste juicily sweet - that’s why we’re absolutely adorable!
Did you know?
Why Apricots Are Good To Eat
• Now, our apricot colour means we have lots of a substance called carotenes, some of which your body can turn into vitamin A. Vitamin A helps you see in the dark. The deeper the colour the more beta carotene we have and the better we are for you.
How They are Grown and Harvested
Planting usually takes place early in winter time and the trees take about 5-6 years to bear good quality fruit. During the growing years the trees are continuously pruned to encourage the growth of strong branches.
We’re harvested in Australia around Christmas time although we can be seen in the shops as early as late October and as late as March, because harvest dates vary depending on the variety. The harvest season for each area is generally short, usually lasting only 15-20 days.
We’re picked when our skins are yellow and our flesh is firm. This allows us to be packaged without bruising.
How to Keep Apricots
Prime Growing Areas
History of Apricots
The Romans took us from North Africa to Italy, then we accompanied them to all parts of their empire. By the mid 16th century we had gained great respectability and could be found in the gardens of noblemen throughout Europe and England. But our travels didn’t stop there, as people migrated from Europe we were taken to other regions of the world and by the 18th century, we were growing in orchards in the USA, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.
Fun Ways to Eat and Cook Apricots
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