An apricot is a fruit or the tree that bears the fruit. However, an apricot tree has got several species that is closely related to the Prunus genus. The apricot is a minute tree that has an average height of 8-12 meters, and its trunk is about 40 centimeters in diameter. The tree has ovate leaves that are 5-9 centimeters long and 4-8 centimeters wide. The leaves have a circular base and pointed tips with mostly segregated margins. Blooms of an apricot are white pinkish flower petals that are either produced singularly or in pairs. An apricot fruit is a drupe that resembles a small peach that develops from yellow to orange and sometimes red when fully exposed to the sun. The fruit's surface can either be velvety or smooth with very short hairs while the flesh of an apricot is usually firm and not very succulent with either a sweet or tart taste.
Uses Of Apricot
Apricots are used as a source of food in this case as a fruit. However, apricots have medicinal properties. During the 17th-century, apricot oil was used to treat tumors, ulcers, and swellings. In 2011, a systematic review deduced that claims that amygdalin and laetrile found in high concentration in apricots have a medicinal benefit to cancer patients were true. In Europe, apricots were used as an aphrodisiac. Culturally apricot fruits are used for education by the Chinese.
Benefits Of Apricot
Apricots are believed to be among the healthiest fruits despite its tiny size. An apricot fruit is fully packed with the right amount of essential vitamins and has plenty of fiber and low fat. Apricot fruits are also rich in vitamin A and potassium which are good for eyesight and maintenance of proper fluid balance and muscle function respectively. Other than nutritional value apricot production has considerable economic benefit to countries that grow them in large scale for exportation.
Cultivation Of Apricot
The apricot being an indigenous species to the continental climate region that experience cold winters can thrive in Mediterranean climates provided that there is enough cool winter weather to allow its dormancy. Dry climates are usually the best for the apricot fruits to mature. Apricot cultivars are often grafted onto peach or plum rootstocks which help provide growth characteristics for the apricot. There are several apricot hybrids including black or purple apricot a mixture of apricot and cherry plum and apriums, plumcots, apriplum or pluots. Some apricot cultivars can be self-reliant since they do not need pollinizer trees while others need to be planted in pairs to pollinate.
Production Of Apricots
Apricots are globally produced by several countries with only 10 being the world's top producers. According to FAOSTAT, the following countries were the top producers of apricots in the year 2013.
Turkey, Iran, and Uzbekistan are the three biggest producers of apricot, a fruit with high nutritional and medicinal values while the seven other top apricot producing countries in the world include; Algeria, Italy, Pakistan, Ukraine, France, Spain, and Japan.
Top Apricot Producing Countries
The world's top apricot producing country is Turkey with 811,609 tons in the year 2013 followed by Iran at second place with 457,308 tons and Uzbekistan as the world's third highest apricot producing country with 430,000 tons.