The apricot (Prunus armeniaca) is one of the
most important fruits. It belongs to the sub-acid class. It is somewhat
acidic in its raw state, but its acidity decreases and the sugar content
increases in the process of ripening. The fruit is regarded as a
nutritious and tonic food and enjoys world-wide popularity.
The apricot is a stone fruit and has nuts
within it. It is round or oblong in shape, flattened to some extent. It is
similar in shape as peach, but is considerably smaller. It is yellowish in
color. The fruit which ripens on the tree alone develops its true flavor
which is very much like that of the peach.
Origin and Distribution
The apricot is believed to have originated
in China, where it has been cultivated for over 4,000 years. It has also
been grown in India and Tibet from time immemorial. The Hunzas, who live
in the Himalayan mountains of northern Pakistan and are known for their
vitality and longevity, have cultivated and valued this fruit for its
health building virtues for over 1,500 years. It was regarded as a food
medicine by Greek physicians, while the Romans dedicated it to Venus, the
goddess of love.
In was introduced in Europe during the time
of Alexander, the Great. In the Middle East, apricots were very popular
for their taste as well as for their invigorating perfume.
Apricots are rich in various food
ingredients. The fresh fruit is rich in natural sugars, vitamin A and
calcium. It is a good source of the Vitamins, i.e. B Complex, riboflavin
and niacin as well as vitamin C. The nut of the apricot is rich in protein
and fat and is considered as valuable as any other nut. It contains 40 to
45 per cent of an oil which is practically identical with almond oil in
its physical as well as chemical properties.