Fresh apricots: a seasonal treat. Photo courtesy Washington State Fruit Commission.
Many of us enjoy dried apricots (stuff them with goat cheese!) and apricot preserves. But how many of us eat fresh apricots in the late spring, when they come into season?
Not enough, based on a poll of THE NIBBLE staff.
Savor the flavor of fresh apricots. Different varieties of are harvested during the summer season.
California apricots are available from May through August.
Washington apricots debut in late June and continue through September.
In the fall, apricots from Idaho appear.
Apricots from Australia, Chile and New Zealand are available in the winter months—but as with all fruit that travels for weeks on a ship, they’ve been picked too green and will dissapoint.
In the case of imported apricots, even when ripe they will be hard and woody. As Produce Pete says, Australian apricots are fine in Australia, but not here.
A tip on buying apricots:
Apricots should look fresh, not wrinkled—a sign of that they’re too old.
Ask the produce manager what day the apricots are delivered, and seek them out when they arrive.
Another reason to get apricots as soon as they arrive is that the fruit is very fragile. The more customers that touch them (and drop them), the more bruised they get. The bruise marks tend to appear when the apricots ripen. It may impact the appearance, but not the flavor.
Firm apricots should be gold, with no traces of green. When ripe, a good apricot will be a rich gold color all over, often with a red blush; and the flesh will be soft (but not as soft as a ripe peach).
Keep them on the counter to ripen; then consume them within a day or two.
As a general tip, keep stone fruits (apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums) out of the refrigerator. The jolt from room temperature to cold temperature can turn the flesh mushy.
WAYS TO ENJOY APRICOTS
As a hand fruit (an industry term for fruit eaten out of hand, like apples, bananas and oranges).
With fresh goat cheese or other creamy cheese, as a dessert.