If there’s one thing that signals the arrival of summer, it’s the sweet smell of apricots. Apricots were first cultivated in China and landed in the States in 1720. It wasn’t until 1792 until the fruits started to gain popularity in North America. Apricot consumption in the United States averages 0.10 pounds per capita for fresh apricots, 0.11 pounds for dried, and 0.16 pounds for canned apricots. Frozen apricot consumption was at a meager 0.04 pounds per capita.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Order: Rosales
- Family: Rosaceae
- Genus: Prunus
- Species: P. armeniaca
- Binomial name: Prunus armeniaca
- Apricot trees take 20-25 years before bearing fruit
- California produces 95% of the apricots in the United States
- Apricots are a great source of vitamin A which is essential for eye health
Apricot Buying Guide
When choosing apricots, choose one that’s a bit soft to the touch but still firm. Consume apricots immediately after purchasing as they do not keep well. Apricots that still have a green tinge to their color will never fully develop in flavor, so it’s best to avoid those.
In a nutshell: Look for firm, fragrant fruit without any visible or palpable bruising.
Apricot Production & Farming in Texas
Apricots are not grown commercially in Texas. Although the fruit can be grown in Texas, those that have been grown only produce a crop twice every five years, which is not attractive to many commercial growers.
The main reason for dismal apricot production in Texas is that the apricot trees are usually the earliest fruit trees to bloom in the spring, and a late freeze can quickly destroy the blooms or young fruit.
While Apricots are not in the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list, Apricot has been mentioned as one of the fruits that are more likely to have pesticide residues in violation of EPA Standards. Some tests have shown that up to 33 types of pesticide residue have been found on some commercially grown apricots.
If possible, go organic when purchasing apricots. If there are no organic apricots available near your home, a good alternative would be either pineapple, mango, or papaya.
The apricot tree thrives in well-drained, light loamy soil making them perfect for growing in the California and Washington areas. Both states account for 99% of the total apricot production in the United States.
While it can survive cold weather, it blooms earlier than most fruit-bearing trees making them susceptible to late freezes.
Apricot propagation is done through budding on peach or apricot rootstocks. Apricot, plums, and peaches may be intergrafted.
Apricots are usually picked, packed, and shipped out on the same day due to their rather short shelf life.
Apricots are best consumed fresh after purchase. They can also be served sliced and added to fruit salads and garden salads. They can also be pressed to make fresh juice.
Fresh apricots do not store well, and they should be consumed immediately after purchase. For unripe apricots, you can ripen them by placing them in a closed paper bag at room temperature for a few days for them to ripen.
Fresh apricots last for a maximum of 2 days in the refrigerator.
To freeze apricots, blanch them for 30 seconds to peel easily, and then remove the pits to get rid of the bitter taste they leave. Place in an airtight container and freeze for a few weeks.
In most recipes, apricots are interchangeable with peaches and nectarines. Apricots can also be used in cakes, sorbets, yogurt, ice cream, crepes, and pies. To make a dessert sauce (like applesauce), poach them in sugar water and puree. Apricots can also be macerated in alcohol and candied.
To preserve the shelf life of apricots, they are often canned or dried.
The kernels can be roasted or baked, similar to almonds.
Apricot goes well with cream, lamb, cardamom, pork, vanilla, and poultry dishes.
Apricots are some of the most nutritious food around, and they have been proven to provide many health benefits.
- One serving of apricots contains about 15 grams of carbs.
- If you’re monitoring your carb intake for dietary means, minimize consumption of apricots and avoid dried apricots as they have higher sugar content than their fresh counterparts
- Apricots contain about 1 gram of dietary fiber per 100g serving.
- This is a good source for natural fiber
- Apricot has a low to moderate glycemic index (34), which will have a moderate glycemic load.
- Apricots contain only about 1% of your daily recommended intake of protein
- Vitamins and minerals:
- Apricots are high in antioxidants, including Vitamin C (10%DV), A (10%DV), and E (6%DV), as well as moderate amounts of beta carotene.
- They are also found to be high in flavonoids, which have been shown to help fight against diabetes and heart disease.
When Are Apricots in Season in Texas?
To find out when Apricots are in season in Texas, please check the seasonal chart below. Why is this important? We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas now.