Juicy and colourful apricots, picked when perfectly ripe, are a symbol of summer! The apricot (Prunus armeniaca) is the fruit of the apricot tree, from the Rosaceae family. Originally from China, it was cultivated and domesticated in Antiquity and the Middle Ages. The apricot grows particularly well in Mediterranean climates: Turkey, Spain, Greece and France are among the major European producers. In the Americas, the main growers are in California and some Latin American countries.
Apricots get their reddish-orange colour from the carotenoids they contain, notably beta-carotene. beta-carotene is the precursor of vitamin A, a vitamin valuable for healthy skin and hair. It helps regulate cell renewal and reduce the sensitivity of the skin to sunlight. Apricots also contain a small quantity of lycopene and flavonoids with antioxidant properties. Finally, as all other fruit and vegetables, apricots contain other micronutrients in lesser amounts, such as vitamins (C, B3, B5, K), potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and copper. The apricot is a relatively sweet fruit (containing about 10 grams of sugar per 100g), which provides between 45 and 50 Kcal/100g.
In France, the apricot season is in full swing between June and August. When ripe, apricots are supple and soft to the touch. The apricot is an extremely fragile fruit, if harvested when green it will not ripen. Be sure to choose your apricots carefully! Apricots are rich in dietary fibre: fresh or dried, they are a valuable aid for sluggish bowels.
Eat apricots as they are, in smoothies (with vegetable milks, for example), clafoutis, pies or tagine for a sweet and savoury twist. Overripe or unsightly fruit can make delicious compotes or jams, while surplus crops can be dried or canned. Fresh apricots can be stored at room temperature. However, when the fruit is ripe, it is best to store them in the refrigerator. But remember to take them out 30 minutes before serving to enjoy all their organoleptic properties.
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