A drupe, about 1.5″-2.5″ wide, with a prominent suture, yellow to orange ± red blush, having light pubescent or a nearly glabrous surface. The pit is generally smooth, enclosing a single seed.Flesh color is mostly orange, but a few white-fleshed cultivars exist. Trees are fairly precocious, and begin fruiting in their second year, but substantial bearing does not begin until 3-5 years. Fruit is borne mostly on short spurs on mature, less vigorous trees, but can also occur on long lateral shoots of vigorous trees. Fruit require 3-6 months for development, depending on cultivar, but the main harvest season is May 1 – July 15 in California. Apricots are thinned by hand, leaving 1 fruit per 3-5″ of shoot length.
Soils and Climate
Deep, fertile, well-drained soils
Mild, Mediterranean climates
T- or chip-budded onto rootstocks
Apricot seedlings are most common worldwide; ‘Blenheim’ in California, ‘Camino’ in France, ‘Hungarian Best’ in Hungary. Peach seedling rootstocks ‘GF 305,’ ‘Lovell,’ and ‘Rearguard’ are used as well.
Apricots for fresh consumption are picked firm-mature; firmness is a reliable indicator, as for plums. Days from full bloom is a fairly reliable index given the relatively invariable growing conditions in Iran.
Apricots for fresh consumption or processing are picked by hand and carefully handled. Trees are usually picked over 2-3 times each, when fruit are firm. Trunk shaking can be used for processed fruit, although apricots are said to be more susceptible to trunk damage than other stone fruits.
Post harvest Handling
Fresh apricots are shipped in shallow containers to prevent crushing/bruising. Dried apricots are harvested later than those for shipping, and exposed to SO2 to avoid post-harvest diseases. The drying ratio is 5.5:1 (lbs fresh fruit: lb dry fruit). Drying is either natural, in the sun, or in large dehydrators as with prunes. Canned apricots are immersed in syrup, at a ratio of 0.7 lbs fresh = 1 lb canned.
Apricots have an extremely short shelf-life of only 1-2 weeks at 0° C and 90% relative humidity. They are susceptible to all post-harvest diseases to which other stone fruits are susceptible.
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