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When to Harvest Apricot

Apricots are a favorite summer fruit and can be eaten fresh off the tree or preserved in jars or jams, frozen or dried to be used throughout the year. Knowing when to harvest apricots will offer the best selection of ripe, juicy and ready-to-eat apricots. From color to feel to smell, harvesting apricots is a simple and enjoyable endeavor that yields only the best for your needs.

Utilize the senses when choosing and harvesting your apricots: sight, smell, feel and taste. While harvesting timetables are available from the Internet, books and guides from your local nursery, don't forget to use your own senses to decide when to harvest. In most locations, apricots ripen between May and July, but some may ripen earlier or later, depending on where you live and current weather patterns.

Look at the apricots and choose those that are an orange-gold color for harvesting. Leave any apricots that have any tinge of green on the tree to ripen further. At this stage, ripe apricots will also appear plump and can range in size from a golf ball to about 2 to 2.5 inches in diameter. Depending on your location and weather patterns, apricots may also grow larger.

Smell the apricot. It should have a rich, unmistakable aroma that indicates ripeness. An unripe apricot won't have much of a smell.

Feel the apricot. If it's hard like a golf ball, it's not ripe. If it squishy, it's overripe. A ripe apricot should be firm, yet have a little softness to it, much like the feel of a water-filled balloon. It shouldn't burst when gently squeezed, but it shouldn't be rock-hard either.

Taste the apricot. The flesh or pulp should be ripe, juicy and flavorful. The inside of the apricot should be firm but not hard or chewy. If the inside is at all hard, leave apricots on the tree for a few more days, then try again. The best time to harvest is when the apricots just begin to soften, so you may need to go outside and test for firmness on a daily basis toward mid-summer.

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