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Ingredient of the week
Although its origins are still unclear, the apricot grew wild in what is now northeastern China between four and five thousand years ago.
It is not known exactly how it arrived in Europe. It is generally thought that it came via the Silk Road.
What is certain is that the Ancient Greeks and Romans ate apricots. The subsequent expansion of the apricot around the Mediterranean basin was the work of the Arabs. The name of this fruit comes from the Arab al-birquq, which means “early-ripening”. This is because apricots blossom in the early spring.
It did not arrive in France until the 15th century. However, it was blamed for producing fevers and was therefore despised and hardly cultivated at all. It was not until the time of Louis XIV that it began to extend: the Sun King had apricots planted in the gardens at Versailles. However, the cultivation of this fruit only really took root in the south of the country in the following century.
The apricot arrived in the Americas through Spanish missionaries, who took them to California and Chile. Their popularity grew quickly and apricots are widely grown there today.