With stone fruit flooding the farmers market around this time every summer, it can be a little confusing – daunting even – to learn about all of the local fruit of the Valley. Then there are all of the varieties within each fruit family! So let’s keep it simple and focus on just one tasty favorite – apricots!
Apricots are those beautifully orange colored fruits full of beta-carotene and fiber that are one of the first signs of summer in the Central Valley. Fresh apricots with a plentiful supply of vitamin C are in season in California from early May through the end of August.
Relatives to peaches, apricots are small, golden orange fruits, with velvety skin and flesh, not too juicy but definitely smooth and sweet. Some describe their flavor as almost musky, with a faint tartness that lies somewhere between a peach and a plum.
Apricots are originally from China but arrived in Europe via Armenia, which is why the scientific name is Prunus armenaica. The apricot tree made it’s way to the United Stated when it came to Virginia in 1720, but its appearance in the Spanish missions of California around 1792 marked the fruit’s real arrival. The climate here in California is perfectly suited to apricot culture, and most apricots in the United States are grown primarily right here in the sunny orchards of the Central Valley!
When you buy apricots at the Farmers Market, you are buying straight from the source!
Apricots are rich in many plant antioxidants that provides you with the protective effects of antioxidants while adding very few calories to your daily total.
Looking for new ways to use your apricots? Here are a few quick serving ideas:
Add sliced apricots to hot or cold cereal.
The next time you make whole grain pancakes add some chopped apricots to the batter.
Give a Middle Eastern flavor to chicken or vegetable stews with the addition of dried, diced apricots.