Native to northeastern China, this drupe fruit spread westward and through Armenia to Europe.
The Roman general, Lucullus (106 – 57 B C), brought bought the apricot and cherry tree from Armenia to Rome with great fanfare.
European explorers in turn brought apricot and other tree fruits to the Americas.
Apricot (prunus Armeniaca) is a eight to 12 meters tall tree that resists cold better than peach.
The tastiest apricots still originate from the Ararat valley in western Armenia, but are seldom exported due to the fragile nature of the fruit.
South Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Italy, the U S A (California and Oregon) are major producers.
Dried apricots from Greece and turkey are widely available in many countries.
Armenian farmers were responsible for spreading apricot cultivation in what is Turkey today. At one time, Cilicia was a prosperous Armenian kingdom with advanced agriculture.
Apricot season is short (a few weeks) and the thin-skinned fruit very delicate.
Most of the crop is picked semi-ripe and reaches retail shelves in that stage of ripeness.
Rich in potassium, carotene, antioxidants, sorbitol, and minerals, apricots are used for pastries, jams, to make cold soups, for drying, and pharmaceutical production.