Delicious, juicy apricots are one of the earliest fruits of summer, appearing in markets across France from mid-May until the middle of September, although June is peak season.
In the Hexagon, they are grown in three main areas – the Rhône Valley, Roussillon and Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur, with varieties including the Bergeron, Orangered and Lambertin.
For a real treat, keep your eyes peeled for the abricot rouge du Roussillon, which since 2016 has had PDO status, guaranteeing fruit of the highest quality. Four varieties come under its umbrella – look out for the Royal Roussillon as well as the Rouge du Roussillon. These especially fragrant apricots are picked by hand and are easily recognisable from their orange flesh which is speckled with red.
Did you know?
It’s best to buy apricots when they are ripe as once they are picked they do not ripen further. These fragile fruits must be eaten within ten days of being harvested – keep them in a cool place, but not the fridge. If you remove the core you can even freeze them – or why not make some delicious confiture or dry them to enjoy over the autumn and winter months?