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Apricot Varieties

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Apricot varietiesThe 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:

Aprium: 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; the 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 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; the 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; the flesh is dark yellow marbled red at the pit. This is a hybrid of 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.

Stark Tilton:

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. Midseason harvest.

Also of interest:

How to Plant, Grow, Prune, and Harvest Apricots

Apricots: Kitchen Basics


Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.


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    • Apricots that have been bred for disease resistance include ‘Goldcot’, ‘Harcot’, ‘Royal Rosa’, ‘Tilton’, and ‘Harglow’. Apricots are least likely to be attacked by disease in dry regions; humidity can foster diseases that attack apricots. Locate your trees where they get plenty of sunshine and the dew dries early in the day; a south or southwest location would be best. Check with the Cooperative Extension Service or a Master Gardener group near where you live for recommendations on which varieties grow best in your area.

    • Three good apricot varieties for zone 9 are ‘Goldcot’, ‘Harcot’, and ‘Autumn Gold’. Other low chill apricots often grown in Zone 9 are ‘Castlebright’, ‘Earli Autumn’, ‘Early Golden’, ‘Flavor Giant’, ‘Flora Gold’, ‘Gold Kiss’, ‘Katy’, ‘Nugget’, ‘Patterson’, ‘Royal Rosa’ and even ‘Blenheim’. That’s a lot of choices. You may not find all of these at the garden center closest to you. Ask at the garden center which varieties they recommend specifically for your area.

  1. I live in Orange County present apricot tree has termites..lots of drippings..delicious apricots!! Very very sweet, orange skin blushed reddish..harvest end of June through about 4th of July..freestone type..home is older.. probably zones 9-11… what would be a comparable sweet sweet apricot?

    • Apricot trees that will grow well in Orange County, California include EarliGold, Gold Kist, and Floragold (these all have low chill hours, under 300); apricots that require 300 to 500 chill hours and may bear fruit in Orange County are Autumn Royal, Katy, and Royal Blenheim. All of those listed here will be similar to the apricot you already have. Check with a nearby garden center or Master Gardener group to see which of the above are most popular in your town.

    • Thank you….which of the varieties you mention are the SWEETEST? I bought a bare-root Moorpark, it’s still in the pot. No one in local nurseries seems to be knowledgeable on sweet apricot Varieties. Thank you!

      • ‘Moorpark’ is perhaps most often referred to as the sweetest apricot. Though many folks say ‘Blenheim’ has a classic apricot flavor. You will likely be very pleased with ‘Moorpark’.

  2. Hi,
    I have a tree that is an early harvest… we just picked the last of them on the 2nd. It’s strange though, they are ripe when they still have a green tinge/color on ½ them. If we wait till they are all orange they are super mushy and on their way to being mealy. When picked while still greenish the inside is absolutely beautiful, tasty, sweet but a little tart and not hard… even the green areas. Does anyone know what type this is? They tree is at least 60+ years old. It came with our 100+ year house.

    • The variety of a 60-year-old apricot tree may be difficult to identify. Check with the nearby cooperative extension fruit tree expert for names of varieties that were growing in your area 60 years ago. Also, check to see if there is an heirloom fruit growers group in your area; members may have a lead on apricot tree varieties that have grown in your area over the years. One apricot variety that matures pale yellow is ‘Hale’s Early’.

    • Bitter and sweet tasting apricot kernels or seeds are naturally occurring, not the result of a post-harvest process. Bitter apricot kernels or seeds are produced by wild apricots which usually, but not always, have pink blossoms. Hybrid apricots which have sweet kernels usually, but not always, have white blossoms. Most wild apricots are found in China of the Himalayas. Sweet apricots are found commonly in Mediterranean climates. Bitterness and sweetness in the seed then is naturally occurring–though sweet apricots seeds are commonly harvested from man-made hybrids. Seeds or kernels of bitter apricot kernels contain about 5% amygdalin (and contain more cyanide) and sweet kernels about 0.9% amygdalin ( and so contain less cyanide then bitter kernels). Amygdalin content varies in apricots according to their variety. Note that snacking on apricot seeds then is potentially dangerous to your health because of the cyanide in the seeds. That said, sweet apricot kernels are said by some to boost immunity and fight off bodily infections. If you intend to consume kernels from home-grown apricot trees, consult with the local extension expert first.

        • Check at a nearby farmers’ market with an apricot grower there. Ask which varieties grow best in your region and check to see when the period of peak harvest is in your area. Bland-tasting apricots may be under-ripe. Blenheim is a flavorful apricot; check with nearby fruit farmers to see which varieties they are growing and bringing to market.

  3. I eat on average 25 bitter Apricot kernals each day, and have done so for years. Purely as a safeguard agaist cancer.
    My problem is I would like to purchase some bitter apricot kernel trees. So that if the time comes when they are banned completely, I will still be able to harvest my own kernals. Can anyone give me the names of any of these varieties.

  4. Turkey is a great producer of Apricot kernels for commercial distribution and consumption. Here is a link; this study includes a list of Apricot cultivars grown for the production of apricot kernels.

    If you get apricot kernels at a nearby store, ask for the name of the grower; the grower can tell you the variety is grows to sell.

  5. Please filter your water vs eating apricot kernels which naturally contain arsenic in them. (*arsenic is what makes them bitter) I’ve survived 2 types of cancers and praise God it’s gone, but I know what caused my cancer was that my drinking water was contaminated with fecal matter from the TCEQ water reports, and LCRA has forced my HOA to replace a floating restaurant on Lake Travis now called Gnarly Gar, it has new management from the old days. The restaurant has been moved from its former location due to droughts and I moved out as a tornado hit the new restaurant but I think it was rebuilt with insurance money. Please filter your water with reverse osmosis or a UV light on a well.

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