Apricot is the vernacular name commonly given to deciduous trees of the species Prunus armeniaca, as well as to their fruit. The apricot, of Chinese provenance, is nowadays grown mostly in Mediterranean countries (Turkey, Italy, Spain and France) and in the USA.
The fruit has a soft, yellow to pink thin skin, fleshy yellow “meat” (the mesocarp) and a stony shell (the pit) within which lies the kernel. The latter may contain cyanogenic glycosides, which can cause severe poisoning. Apricot does best in well drained, medium-texture soils. The trees require cool weather to break dormancy and dry warm summers for fruit development, but they suffer from high temperatures. Most commercial varieties are self pollinated and flower relatively early in the spring, just after almonds. Apricot fruit does not mature uniformly, which requires more then a single harvesting. Fruit used for canning is picked before it is fully mature, but apricot intended for freezing and as edible product is harvested fully ripe. Due to their soft skins and high moisture content apricots are best harvested by hand, although mechanical picking has been developed. Fruit fragility also requires careful post-harvest handling.
The annual world crop of apricots comes to about 2,700.000 tons, and Israel had about 1,100 hectares planted to peaches by the year 2004.
Major apricot pests in the Middle East
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Cohen, M. (Ed.) A Guide to Integrated Pest Management of Stone Fruits in Israel. Pest Identification, Monitoring and Treatment Thresholds. Fruit Board of Israel (in Hebrew).
Ghorpade, V.M., Hanna, M.A. and Kadam, S.S. 1995. Apricot. In: Salunkhe, D.K. and Kadam, S.S. (Eds.), Handbook of Fruit Science and Technology, Production, Composition, Storage and Processing, pp. 335-361. Marcel Dekker, New York.