Monday, June 27, 2011

Apricots

Looking almost like a carpet, apricots are nea...Image via Wikipedia
Sweet southern peaches are in season -yum! It reminds me of the time I was up in the village of (I don't know. It was somewhere around Arslankoy.) and a farmer gave me a giant peach. Like... James had nothing on me with his "giant". Anyhoo - a word about the more famous cousin - errr - neighbor of my peachy friend.

Prunus armeniaca is the latin name for apricot because it's thought the fruit originated in Armenia. Today, Turkey is the largest exporter of apricots with Malatya as the main production center. You can safely guess that most of the apricots on the shelf at the grocery store are from Turkey. (Fresh ones are probably from California.)
And while fresh, locally grown, apricots have no equal, most of us don't live in the sweet spot where they're cultivated. Apparently, the apricots are fussy about soil and have a very short season. As a result, the most common apricot you'll see is a dried one.

Some interesting uses of apricot:

Egyptian amar al-dīn: Dried apricot paste reminds me of a huge fruit roll-up that you dissolve in water for a very tasty drink. People usually float some almonds on top. Gosh! I could go for one of those right now.

Italian: Amaretto liquor is flavoured with extract of apricot kernels. I always thought it was almonds, but the two are interchangeable and often mixed.

Medicinally: Apricot is an antioxidant (carotenoids), a laxative (high fiber), and the kernels can be made into poison (hydrocyanic acid). In the old days, people thought apricots were an aphrodisiac. (??)

Idioms: In Turkish: Bundan iyisi Şam'da kayısı means the only thing better than this is an apricot in Damascus, or it doesn't get better than this. In Arabic: Bukra fil mishmish means tomorrow when it's apricot season, or it's never going to happen. In China: Expert of the apricot grove refers to a physician.

Did you know Jacques Pepin loves apricots? Must be why I like to watch him cook.

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8 comments:

Jessica Bell said...

Oh wow I never knew that about Amaretto. How interesting! I love apricots. But here in Greece they suck. Pretty much like every other damn fruit except watermelon and grapes.

Sarah said...

I love apricots! I never knew they were used in so many different ways. Interesting--as always!

Old Kitty said...

Wow!! I love apricots - dried, fresh and especially when turned into liqueur!! Yay!!!! Take care
x

Deniz Bevan said...

Didn't know that about Pepin!
Mmm, wish I was I was in Turkey eating apricots right now...
They're my hero's favourite fruit [g]

Jeff Gibbs said...

Hey, you commented on mine so I thought I would comment on yours. Great info on one of my favorite fruits here in Turkey. Of course the Armenian thing--what is now Malatya WAS ancient Armenia though I could be censored for saying that apparently. I just had some Apricot pestil today...yummm

Carolyn Abiad said...

@Jim - Shhh! I was thinking the same thing, but then I wasn't sure exactly when the latin name for apricot was coined, so I kept that little gem for myself. One thing I do know: whatever we call it - apricot = :)

Missed Periods said...

Apricots are heavenly. I was so happy when they showed up last week at our local farmers market.

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