Saturday, July 25, 2009

Today's varieties have changed a lot from our parent's days and it is quite common today to find Apricots the size of peaches. Cross breeding has bred larger and sweeter fruit.

New varieties have alot of red blush and some also have red spotting on their skins, generally on the shoulders of the fruit. They look beautiful and taste fantastic.

For those of you that don't really care for this fruit I suggest you try it again; now days they can taste sweeter and juicier than a ripe peach.

Many of the old school varieties are still sold in supermarkets because it takes time (years) for new varieties to reach peak availability. Farmer's Markets are the place to experience new varieties first hand. Growers often use these markets as a testing ground to get consumer feedback, giving them a better idea if they should be planting more or less.

When shopping for nice fruit it's important to realize that most growers ship this fruit semi-ripe because of its frailty. Look for firm apricots, a little bit of softness is okay, mushy is not unless you're making jam or chutney (overripe fruit should be at least 50% off).

More times than you can count you will find this fruit pithy, dry, and marked up on a supermarket shelf. Apricots do not have a long shelf-life to begin with and in a matter of a hours they can begin to deteriorate. To check for freshness (ask if it's okay first), I would recommend splitting one open with your fingers and checking the flesh surrounding the pit... it should be clean without brown discoloration (a sign of old age).

An indentation (line) on the shoulder of the fruit is normal and is due to the branch, this doesn't affect the quality unless the skin is broken.

Apicots will ripen nicely if you leave them on your counter with their shoulders face down. In drier climates, put the fruit into a plastic bag and punch a few pencil sized holes in the bag. This will prevent the fruit from becoming dry and pithy. Fruit with green shoulders will not ripen properly so try to avoid buying these. Once the fruit is ripened to your liking, refrigerate until your ready to eat.

Some of the best varieties are goldbar, goldridge, tomcots, sundrop, and the old school variety "perfections". I have included an interesting video below about apricots. Enjoy!



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