- Apricots belong to the rose family which bears fruits. They are cultivated in temperate regions throughout the world, especially in the Mediterranean region. These are very closely related to almonds, peaches, cherries, and plums. Apricots are consumed fresh, cooked, or even preserved by drying and canning. Apricot trees are small and short but spread far.
- The leaves of the trees are bright green in color and have pointed tips, the leaves are erect on the twigs. Flowers of this fruit are the same in morphology to plum, cherry, and peach, the flowers are white in color and are solitary or single in leaf axils and appear to be in clusters, there are 5 petals in the flower which originate from the floral cup.
- Most of the trees self pollinate with the help of bees, bees are major pollinators of apricot flowers. The fruit is a drupe and has the texture of a suture. The fruit is yellow, orange with a hint of red blush in color. The fruit’s pit is mostly smooth, surrounding a seed, and the color of the flesh is mostly orange.
- The seeds of apricots are sweet but are poisonous until they are roasted.
- Kingdom – Plantae
- Class – Tracheophytes
- Class – Angiosperms
- Class – Eudicots
- Class – Rosids
- Order – Rosales
- Family – Rosaceae
- Genus – Prunus
- Subgenus – Prunus subg. Prunus
History and origin
- It originated and started spreading from northeastern China.
- It spread throughout central Asia, the cultivation of apricots dates back 3000 years ago in China.
- The Europeans were introduced to apricots by Romans in 70-60 BC in Greece and Italy.
- The English settlers and Spanish missionaries introduced apricots to the United States of America.
- For most of the history of apricot cultivation, apricots were cultivated and grown from seedlings and very few improved cultivars existed till the nineteenth century.
Cultivation and harvesting
- They need fertile, well-drained soils, and need to be dug deep in the soil.
- They are frost-sensitive and need Mediterranean climates to grow successfully.
- They are propagated by chip-budding onto rootstocks, apricot seedlings are most common and are easy to find for rootstocks.
- Trees are planted and placed in solid blocks and are kept at a distance of up to 20-24 feet. Every year all the grown and interfering woods and stems are cut down so that the spurs get maximum sunlight.
- On maturity, the apricot fruits are picked when firm by handpicking carefully. The firm fruit is the indicator of the maturity of fruits. The fruits are handpicked 2-3 times over the year.
- Apricots aid in weight loss- These fruits are a very good source of fiber which is very essential in the digestion of food, the fibers help in preventing diabetes, heart diseases, and weight gain.
- Apricots are high in antioxidants- Those are a very good source of antioxidants such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta carotene, these compounds fight the radicals which are responsible for damaging cells and increasing oxidative stress which further causes obesity and other diseases such as heart disease.
- Apricots improve vision – apricots are a great source of xanthophylls and carotenoids which are believed to prevent age-related vision problems.
- Apricots help in skin health – vitamin C and vitamin E which are found in apricot aid the skin, vitamin C protects the skin against UV damage and other pollutants.
- Apricots aid in diabetes treatment – They are very low in calories and carbs which is a very good thing for diabetes patients, the fiber in apricots regulates the blood sugar levels in the body.
- Apricots help in strengthening bones – It is a great source of calcium which is necessary for bone development.
- Apricots are good for the heart – These fruits are high in fiber content, which helps in reducing bad cholesterol in the body, and also increases the good cholesterol in the body. Contain potassium which balances the level of the electrolyte in the system thus keeping heart muscles healthy.
By Sanket Sawant
February 15, 2022