A Golden Fruit of History
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, and they were planted in the gardens of Spanish missions all over California. The first recorded major production of apricots in America was in 1792 south of San Francisco.
Most sources also point out the fact that the botanical name is "armeniaca", which means Romans knew it originated from Armenia.
There is a disturbing legend regarding apricots as a jinx in the military, which apparently derives from canned apricots in U.S. governmental C-rations. In Eastern countries, the apricot is known as "moon of the faithful," and the ancient Persians referred to the apricot as "egg of the sun."
Relative to the Peach
The apricot is a relative of the peach, although is a bit smaller than a peach.
Apricots are marketed fresh, dried and packed.
Large quantities of apricots are canned or pulped for making healthful apricot preserves.
- In one ounce apricots contain enough beta carotene to supply 20 percent of your daily vitamin A requirements.
- Astronauts ate apricots on the Apollo moon mission.
- Apricots originally were grown in China over 4000 years ago and were brought to California by the Spanish in the late 18th century.
- California is also the largest producer of apricots.
- Over half the apricots grown are canned due to their short season.
- Three and one half ounces of dried apricots can supply four million grams of beta carotene.
- Dried apricots are over 40 percent sugar.
- Try and purchase unsulphured dried apricots.
- Store ripe apricots in the crisper bin of the refrigerator for one to two days.
- To ripen apricots, place them in a closed paper bag at room temperature.
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