What is an apricot and what are its features?
Apricot is a fruit culture that has found wide application in various fields of human activity. Since the beginning of its cultivation, thanks to the efforts of breeders, a large number of varieties have been bred. How much this plant lives, how it blooms, what it grows on and its other features, read below.
Is an apricot a berry or a fruit?
To determine the botanical name of the fruit, and to figure it out whether it is a fruit or a vegetable, you first need to consider the botanical classification of fruits.
According to the botanical description, the berry is a fruit with pulp, in which the wall of the ovary is transformed into an edible pericarp.
The flower of a berry plant is characterized by the presence of an upper ovary and 1 or more carpels, and forms a thin integumentary material, as well as a juicy core of the fruit. Seeds are formed in the internal cavity of the pulp.
Berry crops include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, grapes, Turkish delight, medlar, avocado, persimmon, physalis. Based on this definition, apricot is not a berry.The word "vegetable" from the old Russian "ovosht" has been actively used in Russian since the end of the XIV century. It denoted the fruits of plants and the entire process of their vegetation. It came from the German "wachsen", which translates as "grow."
Did you know? In total, there are about 20 varieties of apricots in the world.
The word "fruit" came into use only in 1705. From this moment, the fruits began to be divided into vegetables and fruits. But, not everything is so simple, because during the separation, people began to be guided more by the taste qualities of the fruits than by their botanical affiliation.
From the point of view of science, the fruit is all flowering plants that give fruit, the main task of which is to preserve the seed contained inside.
Based on this, we can conclude that fruits include not only sweet fruits, but also cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant, melons, legumes, and even nuts. The fruit itself is edible for humans or animals, but for the seed it plays the role of a protective membrane.
As it grows, the flesh of the fruit moves away from the seed, thus contributing to its entry into the soil for further reproduction. The edibility of fruits also provides them with additional optimization of the function of reproduction and distribution to more remote areas.
The fact is that when eating fruits, animals, birds swallow them together with seeds, which then come out with excrement in a natural way and thus fall into the soil at a decent distance from the mother plant.
As vegetable crops, botany also positions edible parts of plants, but which are leaves, roots, bulbs and inflorescences.Botany, in turn, divides fruits into the following groups:
- pome seeds - apple-shaped fruits, with juicy pulp, inside which contain chambers with a large number of seeds;
- stone fruit - juicy fruits with one hard-coated seed;
- berry - complex drupes;
- walnut - nuts and dry drupes, characterized by the presence of a hard shell instead of the juicy pulp covering the seed;
- fruit creepers - perennial, winding tree crops.
From all of the above, it follows that apricot is a stone fruit. Belongs to the Pink family.
Common apricot is a fruit tree, the height of which varies within 3-4 m. In young trees, the branches and their growth are bare, gray-brown or red-brown in color.
Crohn spherical. Leaves can be ovoid or almost round, 3 to 10 cm long, corrugated along the edge.Abundant flowering, begins before the leaf blades open.The flowers are almost sessile, arranged in groups so tightly that sometimes under them the presence of branches becomes imperceptible, painted pink or white.
Fruits, depending on variety, can weigh from 20 to 100 g. The peel is pubescent, dense. It can be painted in bright yellow tones with a reddish blush appearing, or almost black (hybrid forms of apricot and cherry plum).
The abdominal suture on the fruit is very pronounced. The pulp has a fleshy-fibrous structure, rather dense. Depending on the variety, more or less juicy. Exudes a strong characteristic pleasant apricot aroma.
Taste characteristics of the fruit are completely dependent on the variety to which the plant belongs. The stone is almond-shaped, with notches along the edges, is well separated from the pulp.How many years a plant lives also depends on its variety. For example, the average life expectancy of wild crops and bred on their basis is 100 years or more, while hybrid varieties, dwarf, colon-shaped, can live on average about 40 years.
Did you know? In Europe, the apricot was called the “Armenian apple”, because it got there from Armenia. However, the true homeland of this fruit remains unknown.
In addition to the variety, the climate, soil composition and care affect the duration of the life cycle.
In its natural state, apricot is found on the rocky southern slopes of Dauria, river basins. Shilka, Argun, Selenga, Ingoda, Onon, in southern China, Eastern Siberia, Manchuria. Apricot is a drought tolerant plant.
Soil quality is not demanding, but cultivated varieties are best developed on loam and sandstone. Frost tolerance is average and above average. Depending on the variety, they can tolerate a temperature drop of -20 ...- 45 ° С.
When freezing, wood is quickly restored. Productivity from one plant ranges from 40 to 100 kg. Most crops are self-fertile.
Chemical composition and calorie content
Nutritional value per 100 g of raw products is 44 kcal.
This amount accounts for:
- proteins 0.9 g;
- fat 0.1 g;
- carbohydrates 9 g;
- water 86.2 g;
- dietary fiber 2.1 g;
- polyunsaturated fatty acids (Omega-6) 0.077 g;
- saturated fatty acids 0.027 g;
- essential amino acids (arginine, valine, leucine, lysine, methionine, threonine, etc.) 0.221 g;
- Essential amino acids (alanine, aspartic acid, serine, tyrosine, etc.) 0.367 g.
The properties of apricot for the body
Apricots have a large number of beneficial properties due to the rich chemical composition and the presence of a vitamin complex. Even in antiquity, doctors from various countries used them for medicinal purposes.
Did you know? Dried apricots are 10 times caloric than fresh fruits.
Apricots are introduced into the diet of children from 8 months in the form of mashed potatoes, juices. After a year, you can begin to give babies a few fruits a day fresh. Due to the presence of pectins, this product helps to cleanse and stabilize the microflora in the intestine, and also reduces the intensity of fermentation in the digestive tract.
Due to the presence of a rich vitamin-mineral complex, which includes all the necessary elements for normal growth and development, the use of apricots helps strengthen bone and muscle tissue, stimulates psychomotor development.Apricot fruits will also be useful in pregnancy and breastfeeding, if they are not allergic. They will relieve the symptoms of toxicosis, manifested by nausea and dizziness in the initial stages of bearing a baby, and also help to cope with constipation, which is accompanied by the last trimesters of pregnancy.
With HB, juice diluted 1: 1 with water, and dried apricots will perfectly cope with anemia and will also help solve problems with intestinal motility in mothers and babies.
Apricots are actively used in a diet aimed at reducing body weight.Due to the antibacterial effect and the presence of dietary fiber, the fruits will help to quickly cleanse the body of toxins, lower blood cholesterol, improve the condition of blood vessels and restore water-salt balance.
Apricots in any form are useful to adults. With increased physical exertion and frequent stresses, they have a restorative effect on the nervous system, improve the efficiency of the immune system.
Important! During heat treatment and drying, apricots do not lose their nutritional value and vitamins.
- In addition, apricots are actively used in the treatment of the following ailments:
- Abnormalities of the cardiovascular system, hypertension - thanks to the presence of antioxidants and B vitamins, the tone of the vascular walls increases and the regenerative function of the body is restored. Pectin removes cholesterol from the blood, which helps to improve blood flow and reduce vascular permeability, thereby lowering blood pressure.
- Gastrointestinal diseases - a decoction of fresh or dried fruits helps to eliminate inflammatory processes, reduce the manifestations of fermentation processes, restore peristalsis and improve metabolism.
- Anemia - iron contained in the composition, and potassium are actively involved in hematopoiesis. Thanks to the vitamins of the group, which are the building blocks of all groups of organs, the absorption of mineral salts increases, which significantly speeds up the process of forming a sufficient number of blood cells.
- Swelling and constipation - the fruits have a diuretic and laxative effect, due to which excess fluid is quickly removed from the body and toxins.
Harm and contraindications
Apricots can cause harm to the body only if they are consumed in excessive amounts. In such cases, diarrhea, vomiting, itching throughout the body, and hives may occur.The norm of consumption per day for an adult is not more than 500-700 g, for a child from 6 years old, not more than 300 g, from a year to 3 years old, not more than 100 g.
- Contraindications to the use of the fruit in question is:
- acute course of gastrointestinal diseases, accompanied by increased acidity and diarrhea;
- hepatitis and other liver diseases;
- thyroid pathology;
- children's age up to 8 months;
- individual intolerance to products.
How to choose quality apricots when buying?
When buying apricots on the market should be guided by such criteria:
- the appearance of the fetus - the whole peel without dents or cracks, the color is uniform without inclusions and stains of unknown origin;
- Colour - saturated, bright;
- the scent - pronounced pleasant, sweetish (if the fruits do not smell it is better not to buy them);
- taste (if there is an opportunity to evaluate it) - pleasant, sweet, juicy pulp.
Basic rules for growing on the site
In growing apricots are unpretentious plants. The landing site should be sunny, protected from the north wind. Culture is extremely susceptible to a lack of coverage of the crown.
There are no special requirements regarding the soil. The main thing is that it be loose and with a sufficient fertile layer. For this, six months before landing, organic matter of 20 kg per m² is added to the site.
It is better to plant apricots in the spring in the northern regions and the central strip. In the southern regions, autumn landing is allowed.During the first year of plant life on the site, they need to be moistened every 2-4 weeks depending on the variety and place of cultivation. Further watering is carried out in the phase of kidney swelling, after flowering, 2 weeks before harvesting and in mid-September.
Important! When cultivating apricots on the site, care must be taken to ensure that there are no other plants at a distance of 5 m from the plant, because these trees are individualists.
Fertilizers are applied from 3 years of plant life in the area 2 times a year. Mullein is introduced in spring, superphosphates or wood ash in autumn.In the prevention of diseases and pests in the spring and autumn, they are sprayed with copper sulfate (3% solution) or Fitosporin (5:10).
For the first 3-4 years, they are also involved in crown formation. The best option is a sparse-tier type.The entire vegetation period needs to monitor the condition of the soil. After each rain, watering and fertilizing, loosening is mandatory and then the site is mulched with compost.
Features and rules of use
Apricots are widely used in many areas of human activity. They are an excellent fresh independent dessert, and are also used in:
In this area, all parts of the plant are used. Various scrubs and cleansing masks, ethers are made from the fruit seeds. Pulp extract is used in perfumery, in the production of essential oils.
Bark and leaves are used for the manufacture of creams with a rejuvenating and healing effect, as well as in the production of toothpastes.
Fresh and dried fruits are used in the magnesium diet for anemia and hypertension. Esters are made from bones to dissolve fat-soluble medications for subcutaneous and intramuscular injections.
Gum is used for the production of blood-replacing fluids. Eastern medicine practices the production of gum-based preparations for asthmatics, people with reduced immunity, constantly suffering from bronchitis, laryngotracheitis.
In culinary, apricots are used to make:
- marzipan (made from seeds);
- mashed potatoes.
Ways to store apricots
Fresh apricots last from 2 weeks to 3-4 months. depending on variety. A sufficiently small number of varieties has a large shelf life.
Usually, the shelf life does not exceed 3-4 weeks. Fresh fruits are stored in dark rooms at a temperature of +2 ... + 10 ° С.
In order to extend the shelf life, apricots lend themselves to various types of processing. When frozen, fruits can be stored throughout the year, provided that they do not lend themselves to secondary freezing after thawing.
When drying, the shelf life can be 3 years, if the raw material is stored at a temperature of 0 ... + 10 ° C, in a dry, dark place. When canning, products are stored for 1 to 2 years.
Did you know? Apricot kernel is a substitute for bitter almonds.
Apricot is a unique culture, the fruits of which are used not only in cooking, but also in cosmetology, as well as traditional and folk medicine.
The advantages of the plant are its unpretentious care when growing and high yield indicators, because most varieties are self-fertile and are able to produce fruits even without pollinators.