The fruit of a tree which is native to North China, the apricot was brought from Armenia to Italy, where it was cultivated over 2,000 years ago. Apricots are now widely grown in the warmer temperate countries. They are exported in fresh, canned and dried form from Spain, South Africa, the United States and Australia.
Like the peach, the apricot must be really ripe to be sweet and juicy. It is popular as a dessert fruit, in fruit dishes and in salads. It is one of the fruits most used in pastry making and confectionery. Apricots have a low sugar content and, when dried, are rich in iron.
To peel apricots easily, put them in boiling water for a minute or two.