There a few weeks each year around mid-April to mid-May that I like to call the Great Fruit Drought. Citrus has peaked for the most part and we are awaiting the first stone fruit and cherries to come out of California. Thankfully I have made it through another drought and am starting to enjoy stone fruit again. One piece of fruit I have been looking forward to in particular are Red Velvet Apricots. I had these beautiful fruits last year and they rocked my world.
What are Velvet Apricots?
The fruit has the same shape as your everyday apricot but as you noticed the color is way different. How can this be? Kingsburg Orchards are the creators of this unique apricot. The apricots are pollinated by plums. They are NOT a pluot or plumcot which is a plum/apricot mix showing more plum characteristics. That is where the color comes from. Kingsburg developed a series of these apricots, each one ripening at a different time with the Red Velvet being the first. They have enough varieties of velvets to last from mid-May to the beginning of August - each a different color: blue, crimson, gold, black, and ruby. Each apricot has a dinosaur sticker with the PLU code and a link to Kingsburg Orchards' kid web site.
My Experience with this Apricot (Rating Scale 1-10)
Better not be wearing a nice shirt when you sink your teeth into these apricots! They are juicy and super sweet without much of a hint of acidity. The flavor is amazing too. It's a shame they are only around for a few weeks each year. One of the nicest features of this apricot is that they seem to arrive to the store ready to eat. They don't arrive green or rock hard like other apricots do. It's such a rare treat to get to pick a piece of stone fruit from it's display and enjoy it as soon as you take it home (if not on the car ride home!). These things are so sweet and have so little acid they ripen up quickly. If they are ripe make sure you store them in the fridge when you bring them home.
How to Pick a Ripe Red Velvet Apricot
As the fruit ripens it turns a more darker red color, more like a purple. It should just barely give to gentle pressure. It can be eaten more firm than you would eat a peach.
Where to Buy Red Velvet Apricots?
Below is a list of stores that I have carried them in the past. If you know a place not on this list please leave a comment below with the store and location.
Meijer (spotted in Ann Arbor, MI)
Whole Foods Market (spotted in Ann Arbor, MI)
Kroger (spotted in Ann Arbor, MI)