The best place to start with apricots is sampling them fresh out of hand. Select apricots that are golden orange and plump, not too soft and not too hard. Apricots that are soft and ripe will have the best flavor. Give them the taste test immediately.
Fresh apricots come to market from mid-spring to mid-summer, May through July and even later in the Northern Hemisphere. The apricot harvest can be divided into early, mid-season and late. That means you can enjoy some or all of these over the course of the apricot harvest.
Here are a few apricot varieties to look for:
Apium: medium to large fruit with clear yellow skin and some plum taste. Late harvest.
August Glo: medium-size apricot with a great sweet-tart flavor. Late harvest.
Autumn Royal: similar to Blenheim; medium fruit with yellow skin with a slight orange blush; flesh is yellow, slightly acid. Use fresh, canned, or dried. Late harvest into fall.
Blenheim: medium to large apricot with thick yellow-orange flesh, very juicy fruit with sweet, sprightly, and aromatic flavor. This is the classic California apricot. Eat out of hand or use for canning. Early to midseason harvest.
Chinese (Mormon): small, orange-skinned fruit with red blush. Smooth, firm flesh is sweet and juicy. Midseason to late harvest.
Earligold: medium-sized fruit is golden yellow with a rich and juicy flesh. Use for canning and for eating fresh. Early harvest.
Floragold: small to medium size apricot with yellow skin and flesh. Mid-season harvest.
Garden Annie: medium to large fruit with a bright yellow skin; the clingstone flesh is juicy and firm. Early harvest.
Gold Kist: medium to large apricot with a red-blushed yellow skin. Excellent sweet-tart flavor. Use for canning, freezing, drying and for eating fresh. Early harvest.
Goldcot: medium too large fruit nearly round with bright gold skin; thick flesh is orange and firm and sprightly-sweet flavored. Use for processing, canning, or eating fresh. Midseason to late harvest.
Golden Amber: large and symmetrical apricot with yellow skin and flesh, firm, slightly acid. Use fresh, in canning, or for drying. Late harvest.
Harcot: medium to large fruit, firm, sweet, and juicy. Early harvest.
Harglow: medium-sized orange apricot, sometimes blushed red; firm, sweet and flavorful. Early harvest.
Hargrand: very large, firm apricot. Midseason harvest.
Harogem: good flavor. Late harvest.
Katy: large apricot with red-blushed skin and deep yellow flesh; freestone flesh is firm mild and sweet. Early harvest.
King: very large apricot. Midseason harvest.
Manchurian apricot: small, mild-flavored, orange fruit. Use for drying. Early harvest.
Montrose: large apricot with yellow skin and red blush; sweet, juicy great flavor; edible kernel. Late harvest.
Moongold: plum-size apricot with golden skin and flesh; sweet, sprightly flavor. Use fresh, canned or for jam. Early to midseason harvest.
Moorpark: this large apricot was developed in the eighteenth century. Considered one of the best. Juicy and aromatic; sweet rich, plum-like taste. Brownish-red skin with specks and dots; yellow to orange flesh. Midseason harvest.
Newcastle: small to medium round well-shaped apricot with lemon-yellow skin; flesh can be soft and coarse. Midseason harvest.
Perfection (Goldbeck): fruit is large, oval to oblong, light yellow–orange skin with a pebbly appearance; yellow to yellow-orange flesh; mediocre flavor. Early harvest.
Plum Parfait: medium fruit; skin is red blushed over dark yellow; flesh is dark yellow marbled red at the pit. This is a hybrid of a Japanese plum and apricot. Early harvest.
Puget Gold: medium size apricot with good flavor low in acid. Use canned or dried. Mid- to late-season harvest.
Riland: nearly round, medium fruit is covered with fine velvety hairs; light yellow skin has deep red blush over half of the fruit; the flesh if firm and meaty. Ripens from the pit out. Midseason harvest.
Rival: large, oval orange apricot blushed red. Early harvest.
Royal Rosa: medium fruit with bright yellow skin; firm flesh has pleasant aroma; the flavor is a good balance between sugar and acid. Best for eating fresh. Midseason to late harvest.
Royalty: extra-large apricot. Early harvest.
Sungold: plum-size, bright orange apricot with a sweet, mild flavor. Use fresh, canned, or as jam. Early to midseason harvest.
Sun-Glow: very colorful fruit. Midseason harvest.
Tilton: large to very large apricot with orange skin yellow-orange flesh; fair flavor. Use fresh. Midseason harvest.
Tomcot: Tlarge, sweet fruit with sweet orange flesh. Early harvest.
Wenatchee Moorpark: Large to oval apricot with orange-yellow flesh and skin; fair texture. Excellent flavor. Midseaon harvest.