How to tell when to pick apricots off your trees

Bumper crop of apricots this year!

Apricot season is here and even though I didn’t get any on my apricot trees this year, many of my friends have offered me lots of them for which I am grateful. So far I’ve made 16 jars of apricot jam, dried a couple of gallons of them and I plan on making a apricot clafouti and an apricot/berry cobbler.

People ask me when they should pick apricots?

Should they wait till they are completely ripe or pick a little earlier. If you wait till they are completely colored up still on the trees, then you will be competing with the birds for them. Apricots are not like cherries where once you pick them, they stop ripening. The good news is you can pick earlier and most of them will continue to ripen if left out on trays in your kitchen. Then as they turn their beautiful apricot color and give to finger pressure, they are ripe and you can store them in a zip lock baggie in the refrigerator and keep adding more to the bag as the rest ripen. Of course they will only last a few days in the refrigerator but this will give you time to get enough of them and think about what to do with them.

Left-all green, 2nd light green-yellow, 3rd one starting to color, 4th one ripe but still needs a day to give to finger pressure

Above is a photo I took of apricots in various stages. The one on the far left is still ALL green and will NEVER ripen so throw those out or compost them. The 2nd one (from left) has a faint light green-yellow color and it will ripen up completely if left out on a counter. The 3rd one (from left) is definitely ripening and turning more yellow and the 4th one is ripe but still a bit hard so I wait till they give to finger pressure-just a touch of give before I use them in a recipe. Now you don’t have to compete with the birds!

6 comments on “How to tell when to pick apricots off your trees

  1. Pam Grob says:

    How do you keep critters from stealing your ripe tomatoes? One day they were there, the next day they were totally gone. I just put some netting around them, but it is squashing the tomato branches.

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    • What kind of critters? Squirrels? They are the hardest to control as they can climb over anything. I have used in the past Fox urine granules from Agua Fria Nursery around the perimeter of the plant and it works pretty good.

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  2. tonytomeo says:

    Birds were not much of a problem for our apricots, perhaps because there were just SO many of apricots. Red mulberries grew randomly on the perimeters of the orchards to supposedly distract the birds. They ripened at the same time, and the birds enjoyed them, so it makes sense. The apricot orchards were so strictly arranged in a grid pattern, so the randomly placed red mulberry trees on the perimeters were memorable. Also, there were dovecotes on poles in random situations. Martins who lived in them supposedly chased away the birds who ate the apricots. Martins also lived in Italian cypress in other neighborhoods. Anyway, I never gave much thought to harvesting apricots at the right time. I just somehow did it. One of the two primary apricot cultivars was intended more for drying than for fresh eating, but we used them for everything that apricots are used for, just because it was what was available.

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  3. skyperson15 says:

    Beautiful! Enjoy your apricots! I’m curious what recipes you make with apricots. Jam and apricot butter are all that come to my mind. My grandparents had a small grove of apricot trees and mostly we’d eat the fruit fresh as fast as we could.

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  4. Beautiful! Enjoy your apricots! I’m curious what recipes you make with apricots. Jam and apricot butter are all that come to my mind. My grandparents had a small grove of apricot trees and mostly we’d eat the fruit fresh as fast as we could.

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