Food Guts - Ingredient Information

Ingredient Lookup

Apricot

When In Season:

    California (Northern): May (early) - July (late)
    California (Southern): May (early) - July (late)
    Colorado: July (early) - August (early)
    Kentucky: July (early) - August (late)
    Missouri: June (early) - July (early)
    New Hampshire: July (late) - August (late)
    New Mexico (North/Central/East): June (early) - August (late)
    New Mexico (Southern): May (early) - June (late)
    Oregon: July (early) - August (late)
    Rhode Island: August (early) - September (late)
    Vermont: July (late) - August (late)
    Washington: June (late) - August (late)

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Apricot on Wikipedia:

This article is about the tree and its fruit. For other uses, see Apricot (disambiguation). Apricot Apricot fruit Conservation status Endangered (IUCN 3.1)[1] Scientific classification Kingdom: Plantae Division: Magnoliophyta Class: Magnoliopsida Order: Rosales Family: Rosaceae Genus: Prunus Subgenus: Prunus Section: Armeniaca Species: P. armeniaca Binomial name Prunus armeniaca L.

The apricot (Prunus armeniaca, syn. Armeniaca vulgaris Lam.) is a species of Prunus, classified with the plum in the subgenus Prunus. The native range is somewhat uncertain due to its extensive prehistoric cultivation.

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Description

Apricot tree in central Cappadocia, Turkey

It is a small tree, 8–12 m tall, with a trunk up to 40 cm diameter and a dense, spreading canopy. The leaves are ovate, 5–9 cm long and 4–8 cm wide, with a rounded base, a pointed tip and a finely serrated margin. The flowers are 2–4.5 cm diameter, with five white to pinkish petals; they are produced singly or in pairs in early spring before the leaves. The fruit is a drupe similar to a small peach, 1.5–2.5 cm diameter (larger in some modern cultivars), from yellow to orange, often tinged red on the side most exposed to the sun; its surface is usually pubescent. The single seed is enclosed in a hard stony shell, often called a ``stone``, with a grainy, smooth texture except for three ridges running down one side.[2][3]

Apricot and its cross section

Cultivation and uses

History of cultivation

Apricots drying on the ground in Turkey. Apricots, raw Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz) Energy 201 kJ (48 kcal) Carbohydrates 11 g Sugars 9 g Dietary fiber 2 g Fat 0.4 g Protein 1.4 g Vitamin A equiv. 96 μg (11%) - beta-carotene 1094 μg (10%) Vitamin C 10 mg (17%) Iron 0.4 mg (3%) Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults. Source: USDA Nutrient database Apricots, dried Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz) Energy 1,009 kJ (241 kcal) Carbohydrates 63 g Sugars 53 g Dietary fibre 7 g Fat 0.5 g Protein 3.4 g Vitamin A equiv. 180 μg (20%) - beta-carotene 2163 μg (20%) Vitamin C 1 mg (2%) Iron 2.7 mg (22%) Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults. Source: USDA Nutrient database

The apricot was known in Armenia during ancient times, and has been cultivated there for so long it is often thought to be native to there.[4][5] Its scientific name Prunus armeniaca (Armenian plum) derives from that assumption. For example, De Poerderlé, writing in the 18th century, asserted ``Cet arbre tire son nom de l'Arménie, province d'Asie, d'où il est originaire et d'où il fut porté en Europe ...`` (``this tree takes its name from Armenia, province of Asia, where it is native, and whence it was brought to Europe ...``).[6] An archaeological excavation at Garni in Armenia found apricot seeds in an Eneolithic-era site.[7] However, the Vavilov center of origin locates the origin of the apricot's domestication in the Chinese region, and other sources say the apricot was first cultivated in India in about 3000 BC.[8] Its introduction to Greece is attributed to Alexander the Great,[8] and the Roman General Lucullus (106–57 B.C.) also exported some trees – the cherry, white heart cherry, and apricot – from Armenia to Europe. Subsequent sources were often confused about the origin of the species. Loudon (1838) believed it had a wide native range including Armenia, Caucasus, the Himalaya, China, and Japan.[9]

Today the cultivars have spread to all parts of the globe with climates that support it.

Apricots have been cultivated in Persia since antiquity, and dried ones were an important commodity on Persian trade routes. Apricots remain an important fruit in modern-day Iran where they are known under the common name of Zard-ālū (Persian: زردآلو).

Egyptians usually dry apricots, add sweetener, and then use them to make a drink called ``'amar al-dīn.``

More recently, English settlers brought the apricot to the English colonies in the New World. Most of modern American production of apricots comes from the seedlings carried to the west coast by Spanish missionaries. Almost all U.S. production is in California, with some in Washington and Utah.[10]

Many apricots are also cultivated in Australia, particularly South Australia where they are commonly grown in the region known as the Riverland and in a small town called Mypolonga in the Lower Murray region of the state. In states other than South Australia apricots are still grown, particularly in Tasmania and western Victoria and southwest New South Wales, but they are less common than in South Australia.

Cultivation

Fresh apricots on display Dried organic apricot, produced in Turkey. The colour is dark because it has not been treated with sulfur dioxide (E220)

Although often thought of as a ``subtropical`` fruit, this is actually false – the apricot is native to a continental climate region with cold winters, although it can grow in Mediterranean climates very well. The tree is slightly more cold-hardy than the peach, tolerating winter temperatures as cold as −30 °C or lower if healthy. The limiting factor in apricot culture is spring frosts: They tend to flower very early, around the time of the vernal equinox even in northern locations like the Great Lakes region, meaning spring frost often kills the flowers. Furthermore, the trees are sensitive to temperature changes during the winter season. In their native China, winters can be very cold, but temperatures tend to be more stable than in Europe and especially North America, where large temperature swings can occur in winter. The trees do need some winter cold (even if minimal) to bear and grow properly and do well in Mediterranean climate locations since spring frosts are less severe but there is some cool winter weather to allow a proper dormancy. The dry climate of these areas is best for good fruit production. Hybridisation with the closely related Prunus sibirica (Siberian Apricot; hardy to −50 °C but with less palatable fruit) offers options for breeding more cold-tolerant plants.[11]

Apricot cultivars are most often grafted on plum or peach rootstocks. A cutting of an existing apricot plant provides the fruit characteristics such as flavour, size, etc., but the rootstock provides the growth characteristics of the plant. Apricots and plums can hybridize with each other and produce fruit that are variously called pluots, plumcots, or apriums.

Apricots have a chilling requirement of 300 to 900 chilling units[clarification needed]. They are hardy in USDA zones 5 through 8. Some of the more popular US cultivars of apricots include Blenheim, Wenatchee Moorpark, Tilton, and Perfection.

There is an old adage that an apricot tree will not grow far from the mother tree. The implication is that apricots are particular about the soil conditions in which they are grown. They prefer a well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. If fertilizer is needed, as indicated by yellow-green leaves, then 1/4 pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer should be applied in the second year. Granular fertilizer should be scattered beneath the branches of the tree. An additional 1/4 pound should be applied for every year of age of the tree in early spring, before growth starts. Apricots are self-compatible and do not require pollinizer trees, with the exception of the 'Moongold' and 'Sungold' cultivars, which can pollinate each other. Apricots are susceptible to numerous bacterial diseases including bacterial canker and blast, bacterial spot and crown gall. They are susceptible to an even longer list of fungal diseases including brown rot, Alternaria spot and fruit rot, and powdery mildew. Other problems for apricots are nematodes and viral diseases, including graft-transmissible problems.

Production trends

Apricot output in 2005 Top ten apricot producers—2005 (1,000 tonnes)  Turkey 390  Iran 285  Italy 232  Pakistan 220  Greece 196  France 181  Algeria 145  Spain 136  Japan 123  Morocco 103  Syria 101 World total 1916 Source:[12]

Turkey (Malatya region) is the leading apricot producer,[13] followed by Iran. In Armenia apricots are grown in Ararat Valley.

Kernels

Main article: Apricot kernel

Seeds or kernels of the apricot grown in central Asia and around the Mediterranean are so sweet that they may be substituted for almonds. The Italian liqueur amaretto and amaretti biscotti are flavoured with extract of apricot kernels rather than almonds. Oil pressed from these cultivars has been used as cooking oil.

Medicinal and non-food uses

Cyanogenic glycosides (found in most stone fruit seeds, bark, and leaves) are found in high concentration in apricot seeds. Laetrile, a purported alternative treatment for cancer, is extracted from apricot seeds. As early as the year 502, apricot seeds were used to treat tumors, and in the 17th century, apricot oil was used in England against tumors and ulcers. However, in 1980 the National Cancer Institute in the USA declared laetrile to be an ineffective cancer treatment.[14]

In Europe, apricots were long considered an aphrodisiac, and were used in this context in William Shakespeare's