Apricot cultivation

The apricot is thought to have originated in northeastern China near the Russian border. In Armenia it was known from ancient times. The Roman General Lucille’s (106-57 B.C.) even exported some trees, – cherry, white heart cherry and apricot from Armenia to Europe. While English settlers brought the apricot to the English colonies in the New World, most of modern American production of apricots comes from the seedlings carried to the west coast by Spanish missionaries. Most U.S. production is in California with some in Oregon and Utah. Turkey is one of the leading dried-apricot producers. In Armenia apricot is grown in Ararat Valley.

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The Apricot is slightly more cold-hardy than the peach, tolerating winter temperatures as cold as -30 °C or lower if healthy. The limiting factor in apricot culture is spring frosts: They tend to flower very early, before the vernal equinox even in northern locations like the Great Lakes region, meaning spring frost often kills the flowers.The trees do need some winter cold to bear and grow properly and do well in Mediterranean climate locations since spring frosts are less severe here but there is some cool winter weather to allow a proper dormancy. The dry climate of these areas is best for good fruit production. Hybridization with the closely related Prunes Siberia (Siberian Apricot; hardy to -50°C but with less palatable fruit) offers options for breeding more cold-tolerant plants.Apricot cultivars are most often grafted on plum or peach rootstocks. A cutting of an existing apricot plant provides the fruit characteristics such as flavor, size, etc., but the rootstock provides the growth characteristics of the plant.Many apricots are also cultivated in Australia, particularly South Australia where they are commonly grown in the region known as the River land and in a small town called Mycology in the Lower Murray region of the state.In states other than South Australia apricots are still grown, particularly in Tasmania and western Victoria and southwest New South Wales, but they are less common than in South Australia.
Apricots are also cultivated in Egypt and are among the common fruits well known there. The season in which apricot is present in the market in Egypt is very short.There is even an Egyptian proverb that says “Fell mishmash” (English “in the apricot”) which is used to refer to something that will not happen because the apricot disappears from the market in Egypt so shortly after it has appeared. Egyptians usually dry apricot and sweeten it then use it to make a drink called “ajar el den”.Seeds of the apricot grown in central Asia and around the Mediterranean are so sweet that they may be substituted for almonds. Oil pressed from these cultivars has been used as cooking oil. Powder zed seeds can also be added to pastry dough to give a distinct flavor.

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