Which fruit has the same shape and fuzzy skin as the peach but is a close relative of the fruit instead? Apricots. These Asian fruits, which are now grown all over the world, are highly nutritious. They can help protect your skin from the sun and may also help improve your vision. Apricots can be eaten fresh or dried and are a common ingredient in jams, jellies, and pies.
In this article, we’ll share a bunch of astounding facts about apricots that kids will enjoy learning. So, keep reading to learn more about these tasty fruits!
1. Apricots belong to the rose family
The first thing that you must know about apricots is that these fruits come from a famous flowering family, Rosaceae, which also houses all the roses. Did you find it weird? Because you shouldn’t.
You might not know this, but many other fruits that you commonly eat, including peaches, almonds, plums, cherries, and raspberries, are all members of the rose family.
2. Apricots are drupes
Any fruit with a thin outer skin, fleshy fruit, and a pit in the center (wherein its seed lies) is a drupe. Because apricots fulfill all these conditions, they’re botanically categorized as a drupe.
3. Apricots originated in China
The origins of apricots can be traced all the way back to 2000 BC, when these fruits were first cultivated in parts of central Asia, particularly in China. While this fruit might’ve come to the west after the 15th century, people of the east have been eating it for a long, long time.
4. There are over 60 different varieties of apricots in the world
While apricots may have originated in China, they’re now grown in 69 different countries of the world. And with the widespread cultivation of apricot comes variety. Today, there are over 60 different varieties of this fruit available in different parts of the world.
5. The term Apricot has a long, interesting history
Did you know that the term apricot that we so commonly use today has a long history itself? This English term was derived from the Portuguese term albricoque, which was derived from the Arabic term al-barquq.
And that’s not even it. This Arabic name of apricot finds its roots in the Latin term praecoquum, which, when translated to English, means early-ripening. Despite its long history, the term makes perfect sense, as apricots are well-known for their early ripening.
6. Not all apricots have orange skin
What does an apricot typically look like? Small, almost roundish in shape, with both their rind and flesh-colored in orange. But did you know that not all varieties of these fruits acquire the same light coloration?
There’s an apricot variety grown in Central Asia, referred to as Black apricot and Purple apricot, which has dark, purplish-black skin with reddish flesh inside. It is believed that this variety is a hybrid between regular apricots and cherry plums.
7. Apricots have a toxic pit
The pit of apricot, which is more often referred to as kernel, contains amygdalin, a plant toxin that degrades into cyanide as soon as the pit is broken down. That’s why we strongly recommend you be careful about removing the pit from apricots before eating them.
8. Apricot oil can do wonders for your skin
Have you ever seen apricot oil in the local store and wondered which part of the plant it comes from? To fulfill your curiosity, we’re here with the answer:
Apricot oil is extracted from the kernels of apricots. Yes, the same kernels that contain the toxin amygdalin also contain a number of other nutrients (Omega 6 and 9 fatty acids, palmitic acid, stearic acid, Vitamins A and E).
All these nutrients enrich dry skin, maintain its suppleness and radiance, and prevents early signs of aging, therefore, acting as a natural elixir for your skin.
9. Apricots grow from beautiful, white flowers
All plants of the rose family are known for their beautiful flowers, and the apricots are no exception to it. Before the fruiting process begins, the apricot trees are loaded with countless five-petalled white flowers with bright yellow stamen. It’s a shame that these flowers soon turn into fruits, but their short-lived beauty is divine.
10. Turkey is the leading apricot-producing country in the world
Of all the 69 countries that cultivate apricots, Turkey ranks at the top. This leading apricot producer is followed closely by Uzbekistan and Italy.
11. 95% of the apricots grown in the United States come from California
While the United States of America might not rank among the top apricot-producing countries, its apricot cultivation is quite substantial. The nation produced over 33,000 tonnes of apricot back in 2020, most of which came from California, the leading apricot-producing state in the US.
12. Apricots are one of the earliest available summer fruits in the United States
The American apricot season begins in early May and lasts by the end of July. Because these fruits ripen early, they’re one of the earliest fruits that mark the arrival of summer in the country.
13. January 9th is celebrated as National Apricot Day
Although little is known about the commencement of National Apricot Day, this festival has been celebrated in the USA for about 20 years now. It falls on January 9th of every year.
14. The apricot is the national fruit of Armenia
Armenia, a country located in the northwestern region of Asia, has declared apricots to be their national fruit.
Apricot has held a special value for the country for centuries and are locally called tsiran there. The color of this fruit is used in the country’s national flag, and the countrymen also celebrate a special apricot festival in July every year. In fact, Armenia even comes up in the scientific name of these fruits: Prunus armeniaca.
Wrapping it up
As we wrap up the article, let’s do a quick revision of everything new we’ve learned today.
We began by learning about the family that these fruits belong to, discussed the history of their origins and association with humans, and their varieties. Later, we also explored the countries and states that are leading producers of these fruits and the country that has declared them as their national fruit.
Which of these facts did you like the most? Feel free to write us an email and let us know.