The apricot originated in China and spread slowly westward. It was introduced into England from Italy in 1542 by Jean Le Loup, Henry VIII’s gardener. It’s a fragrant fruit with a soft velvety skin and is a relative of the peach, nectarine, plum and cherry.
British apricots are available from May to September, but more often they’re imported from countries with warm climates, eg hot European countries in the summer and Chile and South Africa in the northern hemisphere’s winter.
Apricots are mostly used in tarts and crumbles or made into jams and compotes. Dried apricots are a popular, healthy snack, and are also used in savoury dishes in Turkey and Middle eastern countries.