Apricots, the precocious yellow plum of summer! Its history, where they get their name, when they’re in season, and how to store them.

  06/06/2023 at 23:43 pm


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The History of Apricots and Why They’re Called Yellow Plums

Apricots were cultivated as early as 2000 B.C. in China but are currently grown on every continent aside from Antarctica. It spread to the Middle East and throughout Eurasian countries via the Silk Road and nomadic horsemen. The Persians called it the "yellow plum," or zardaloo, and the poetic name amardine later surfaced in Arabic cultures, meaning "moon of faith." Apricots are still especially popular to consume in Arabic cultures around the time of Ramadan to break the morning fast. In modern times, apricots have remained popular. They were even one of the foods taken on the Apollo space mission!

Apricot: “The Precocious One”

Apricots are Members of the rose family and have long been enjoyed and admired by aristocrats throughout history. This velvety stone fruit is related to peaches, plums, cherries, and almonds, and was dubbed "the precocious one," or praecocum, by the Romans, who discovered apricots in the first century A.D. The name they gave the fruit came from the fact that apricots bloom early in the summer and are especially sensitive to early frosts.

Where are apricots grown and when are they in season?

In the United States, the apricot season is relatively short, spanning from mid-May to mid-August, or early September at the latest. They are grown nationally in only three states: California, Indiana, and Washington. While Western apricots range in color from light yellow to deep orange, there are more varieties of Eastern apricots that range from deep purple or black to rosy cream. Western apricots are slightly sweet with a touch of tartness, and their texture lies somewhere in between a plum and a peach, yielding less juice than peaches. Eastern apricots can have flavors that span from ultra-sweet to acrid and bitter, and their sizes can also range from pea-sized to the size of a tennis ball!

What vitamins and minerals are in apricots?

One apricot tree can produce fruit for up to 25 years, and 1 ounce of apricots contains enough beta-carotene to supply 20% of your daily vitamin A requirement! The beta-carotene, lutein, and vitamin E content found in apricots makes them one of the best foods to support eye health.

Here’s the best way to store apricots and how to know when they’re ripe and ready to eat.  

Fresh apricots are best stored at room temperature, away from sunlight, until they ripen. You can tell that apricots are ripe once they give off a sweet smell and are slightly soft to the touch. Once apricots are ripe, they can be placed in the refrigerator to prevent spoiling, as they will not continue to ripen once refrigerated. Ripe apricots will last up to a week in the fridge, though refrigeration may change the texture and taste of the fruit a bit (so it’s best to eat them as soon as possible once they have ripened!).

While apricots are in season, we have them in stock at the store. We also carry other apricot products that we love, some of which are available outside of the summer season.

Here are a few of our favorite apricot products you can find in the store:

Bonne Maman Apricot Preserves

BBB Apricot Nectar

Nature’s Bakery Peach Apricot Fig Bars

Roland Apricot Tartlettes

Santa Cruz Organic Apple Apricot Sauce

Apricots hit their peak during the summer months, so we’ve compiled a list of delicious apricot recipes for you to try this season!

Chicken Apricot Tangine

Slow-cooked Jersey Milk Porridge with Sticky Apricot Thyme Compote Topping

Easy Apricot and Marzipan Tart

Dairy-free Sweet Summer Spice Apricot Smoothie

Baked Brie with Apricot Preserves

Since this special stone-fruit’s season is short, make sure you make the most of it by picking some fresh apricots now through early September at HarvesTime Foods!

By HarvesTime Foods