Apricot historyThe apricot, Prunus armeniaca, is a member of the rose family, along with peaches, plums, cherries, and almonds. The word apricot comes from the Latin praecocia meaning "precocious" or "early ripening." It first appeared in English print in 1551.
Alexander the Great is said to have brought apricots from their native home in China to Greece in the fourth century B.C. The Arabs carried apricots to the Mediterranean, and the apricot became a main crop in Italy for centuries. Franciscan friars brought the apricot to America in the late 1800s, where they thrived.
As of 2011, Turkey is the largest producer of the world's apricot crop, followed by Iran and Pakistan. Ninety percent of the U.S. apricot crop is grown in the state of California. There are hundreds of apricot varieties, but certain ones are more suitable for dried and processed fruits. Apricot trees are perfect for home gardens. They are easy to maintain, take up relatively little space, and the sweet-smelling flowers are an added benefit in spring.
Apricot Lore and LegendYou have probably heard the term "nectar of the gods." This was nectar made of the juice and pulp of the apricot which was reputedly the drink of choice of the Greek and Roman gods. There is a disturbing legend regarding apricots as a jinx in the military, which apparently derives from canned apricots in U.S. governmental C-rations. In Eastern countries, the apricot is known as "moon of the faithful," and the ancient Persians referred to the apricot as "egg of the sun."
More about Apricots and Apricot Recipes:• Apricot Cooking Tips
• Apricot Selection and Storage
• Apricot Measures, Substitutions, and Equivalents
• Apricots and Health
• Apricot History, Legends, and Lore
• Apricot Recipes
Apricot Photo © 2008 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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