Apricots ripen in the early summer, but they’re quite commonly dried so that way we can enjoy them year-round. The word ‘apricot’ in Latin purportedly means “precious”, but further investigation reveals that while this moniker is appropriate, it actually comes from Arabic ‘al barqūq’ (“early ripe”) via French ‘abricot’.
“Early ripe” is appropriate because apricots tend to ripen earlier than most summer fruits. Drying apricots has been a common preservation practice for centuries. Most store-bought apricots retain the bright orange color that the fruits have when ripe. Organic dried apricots would be browner in color and the bright orange is a sign that the fruits were treated with sulfur compounds.
Learn about National Apricot Day
A lot of people would agree that apricots are underrated. They don’t seem to get the attention that apples, melons, and oranges do, right? However, apricots are incredibly delicious, taking a standard dish to Michelin Star heights when used effectively! They also offer a number of different health benefits as well. So, on National Apricot Day, you are encouraged to add this fruit to your diet, and also to learn about all of the goodness that this fruit has to offer!
So, let’s give you the lowdown on the apricot! It’s actually a small tree, which tends to be between eight and 12 m in height. Apricots can be found all over the world. However, they originate from the North East area of China, close to the Russian border. The fruit that this tree produces is essentially a drupe, which is very comparable to a peach. There is only a single seed inside of the apricot, which is covered by a hard and stony shell, known as the kernel. The flesh of the apricot is very tasty, but it’s not very juicy.
There are a lot of benefits that are associated with eating apricots. This fruit is an excellent source of both Vitamin A and Vitamin B. It also presents you with a good way of adding some more water to your diet. This is because roughly 86 percent of an apricot is water. The rest of the fruit is fat, protein, and carbohydrates.
History of National Apricot Day
From what we could find on the matter, the apricot tree was domesticated in China some 4,000 years ago. From there, apricots made their way across Asia to the Mediterranean region. The Spanish Conquistadores introduced apricots to the Americas back in the 16th century, planting the trees all over what is now the west coast of the United States.
Today, while the US is not among the top producers of apricots globally, 95% of the apricots grown in the United States come from the San Joaquin Valley in California. Apricots are tasty, healthy, and should be eaten whenever possible. Therefore you should enjoy apricots in celebration of these wonderful golden fruits.
How to celebrate National Apricot Day
It would be too obvious for us to simply tell you to go out and buy some dried apricots and then take them home and eat them. So what we’re suggesting instead is an apricot-themed day, where you incorporate apricots into various foods, and maybe even celebrate with some Barack (apricot brandy, not Obama . . . though if you’re in contact with him, why not to invite him for an apricot celebration?). Apricots are rich in nutrients, so you can’t really go overboard. They can be used in more ways than you think too, so be creative.
While we don’t know if they celebrate any sort of National Apricot Day in China, we will say that the apricot is associated with education and medicine there. The classical word 杏壇 literally means “apricot altar” and is still commonly used in the written language to describe an educational circle.
There’s a story that Confucius taught his students surrounded by a grove of apricot trees, so we’d imagine that strong and lasting imagery of a philosopher teaching his students would lead to popular connotations of education by Chinese society some centuries later.
While we already know that apricots are quite good for you, traditional Chinese medicine takes that a step further and utilizes apricot kernels quite freely. Since the Chinese are believed to have domesticated the apricot tree, it’s only fitting that it also bears significance there.
Fresh apricots are tasty, refreshing, and should be eaten whenever possible. Dried apricots are almost as delicious and can be had throughout the year. National Apricot Day doesn’t seem to fall in apricot season, but we still suggest that you go and indulge in some apricots in celebration.
There are plenty of other ways that you can celebrate National Apricot Day. why not plant your own apricot tree in your garden? This is a fun activity and it will enable you to produce your own delicious apricots, rather than having to buy them from the store. Of course, if you live in a flat, this is not going to be possible in most cases, so why not support a local grower in the area instead of buying from one of the big supermarkets?
There are also a lot of delicious and amazing apricot recipes that you can create on this date. This includes some tasty desserts, such as white chocolate and apricot cheesecake, apricot shortbread, as well as apricot, cinnamon, and olive oil cake. Apricot is not only used in desserts, but it is often a feature in starter and main courses as well. It works really well with goats cheese. You will also find that it is often used in Moroccan cuisine, as it is a regular feature in tagines. We are sure that you will have no trouble finding plenty of exciting apricot recipes online for this date!
Don’t forget to end the day by celebrating with an Apricot cocktail. We have seen some really exciting cocktail recipes online that include apricot or apricot syrup. One of our favorites is an Apricot and Honey Bourbon Sour cocktail. This consists of apricots, apricot syrup, bourbon, lemon juice, and mint. It’s delicious!