bg header


Properties of apricots

Apricots are among the most loved fruits, appreciated for their sweet flavour (but not too much), for their pleasant texture on the palate, and for their versatility in the kitchen. Despite being known in the classical era, when they were thought to have an Armenian origin, they have been a part of Mediterranean cuisine for millennia. In actuality, apricots originate in China, just like many other members of the rosaceae family.

In nature, the apricot tree can reach 12–13 metres. In cultivation, however, the trees are kept below 4 metres in order to facilitate fruit harvesting, which mainly takes place in the months of June and July. The plant is compatible with the Mediterranean climate, but it does not tolerate cold or tropical climates.

Rich in potassium, magnesium, zinc, and iron and low in calories (only 28 kcal per 100 grammes), apricots are a fruit with exceptional nutritional qualities. It’s a great source of folic acid, which helps the nervous system work, and vitamin A, which has a favourable effect on vision. Abscisic acid is also present and has a significant role in controlling the absorption of carbohydrates.


The numerous varieties

Apricots are delicious and versatile fruits that exist in different varieties, each with its own characteristics of flavour, colour, and texture. Apricot boasts numerous varieties; below are some of the apricot varieties I know:

  • Common apricots (Prunus armeniaca): This is the classic apricot variety, distinguished by its smooth orange skin. They are typically consumed raw or used to make jams, preserves, and desserts because of their sweetness and juicy texture.
  • Royal: Compared to regular apricots, this type is distinguished by its bigger size. They often have lighter meat and are delicious.
  • Nancy: The shape of these apricots is spherical and tiny. They are quite sweet and ideal for creating jams and preserves or for snacking on.
  • Bergeron: This French varietal is well regarded for its full, slightly tart flavour. They are frequently used to create goods like liquor made from apricots.
  • Blenheim: This variety of apricot is well-known for being incredibly sweet and fragrant. They’re frequently used to produce excellent jams and preserves.
  • Moorpark: With flesh that is a deep orange colour, this apricot variety is also highly sweet and aromatic. They work great for making dessert or for eating raw.
  • Japanese: These are particularly tasty apricots with brilliant yellow skin. They are frequently used to prepare traditional Japanese sweets and syrups.
  • Hunza: This type is distinguished by its rich orange colour and sweet flavour. They are frequently used to produce jams and baked goods.
  • California: These apricots are widely grown in the California region of the United States. They are sweet and juicy and are often used to make apricot juice.
  • Wild: Compared to cultivated types, these tiny apricots frequently have a stronger, somewhat more acidic flavour. They are found in the wild.
  • Pindos: A fairly early variety (it can be harvested at the end of June), which does not differ from the standard of other apricots.
  • Galatone: With its small size and soft texture, this variety is also grown in Puglia.
  • Devil: The variety cultivated in Campania is characterised by its reddish pigmentation.
  • Preola: Another variety grown in Campania, it stands out for its larger than average size.
  • Reale: The late variety, typical of Emilia Romagna, has medium dimensions but a bright yellow colour.
  • Valleggina: This variety is characterised by its bright orange colour and medium size.
  • Amabile: In terms of size and colour, it has characteristics that are average compared to other types of apricots, but it is harvested at the end of June.
  • Thyrintos: a kind distinguished by its large dimensions and corpose shape. This type of albicocca is a little too susceptible to gioielliosi (a parasitic fungus).

Every kind of apricot has a unique appeal and may be imaginatively used in cooking, both raw and in recipes for cakes, ice cream, jams, preserves, and much more. The variety you choose generally comes down to personal taste and how you want to use it in the kitchen.

How to use this fruit in the kitchen in sweet and non-sweet preparations

The culinary diversity of apricot is genuinely astounding, as it can be incorporated into an extensive variety of both sweet and savoury dishes, catering to even the pickiest palates. Here are some suggestions for utilising this delectable fruit in cooking:

Sweet Preparations:

  • Apricot Panna Cotta: Adding pieces of apricot to panna cotta can add a natural sweetness and fruity touch to this classic dessert.
  • Apricot dumplings: Wrap apricot pieces in puff pastry to create delicious dumplings to serve with a touch of icing sugar.
  • Apricot tarts: Prepare a tart with an apricot filling, perhaps enriched with a little vanilla or cinnamon.
  • Apricot tiramisu: Try making a tiramisu with apricots as the fruity sweetness contrasts nicely with the mascarpone and coffee.

Savoury Preparations:

  • Apricot Sauce for Meat: To go with chicken, hog, or duck meat, make an apricot-based sauce. Fatty meats pair well with the apricot’s acidity.
  • Salads: To add a little sweetness and freshness to mixed salads, add slices of apricot.
  • Chutney: Prepare an apricot-based chutney to accompany cheeses, roast meat, or sandwiches.
  • Hot Sauce: Mix apricots, chilli peppers, and spices to create a spicy and sweet sauce suitable for Asian dishes or barbecues.

Drinks and creative combinations:

  • Flavoured Water: For a refreshing flavour that’s ideal for hot days, add some sliced apricots to a jug of water.
  • Infusion: In a cup of hot water, combine dried apricot slices to make an apricot infusion.
  • Essence: Use apricot essence to flavour creams, sauces, or cocktails.
  • Fruit Salad: To make a vibrant and delectable fruit salad, combine apricots with other fresh fruits like strawberries, cherries, or peaches.
  • Sorbet: Prepare a fresh and natural sorbet using ripe apricots.

Additionally, several ethnic cuisines, like Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, greatly value apricot as an ingredient. It is a versatile option in the kitchen that works well with both sweet and savoury meals because of its sweetness and distinct flavour. When it comes to utilising the delicious characteristics of apricots, culinary creativity knows no bounds.