Apricots are delectable stone fruits that burst with juicy sweetness some consider far superior to their contemporaries, the nectarine and the peach.
Whether you’ve chosen to grow apricots yourself for a bumper crop, or you’ve got a good haul from the store, you want to ensure you get the most out of them. Read on to learn how to store apricots so not a single one of these tantalizing fruits goes to waste on your watch!
How Long Do Apricots Last on Average?
The first key to deciding how to store apricots properly is to decide how soon you will eat them and what you intend them for. On average, a whole, ripe apricot will last in a pantry or other cool, dark environment for about 1 to 3 days, in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for around 5 months.
A cut-up apricot, meanwhile, will last a shorter amount of time unfrozen. When choosing how to store your cut apricots, you will almost certainly want to refrigerate or freeze them. Stored in a pantry or a similar airy space, a cut apricot will only last a couple of hours. In the fridge, it will be good for about 3 to 4 days. Meanwhile, a frozen cut apricot has the same 5-month storage life as a whole apricot.
How Can You Tell When Apricots are Ripe?
Signs of a Ripe Apricot
Learning the signs of a ripe fruit is one of the key factors when you are figuring out how to store apricots, as the methods for storing ripe apricots versus unripe ones do differ somewhat.
To tell if your apricots are ripe, you will most heavily rely on the firmness test. A perfectly ripe apricot will be firm and plump to the touch, but should give just a bit if you squeeze it very gently between your fingers. Just be sure not to squeeze too hard, or you will risk bruising the fruit!
The second test is the scent test. A ripe apricot will give off an aroma profile that is often described as sweet, full-bodied, and even a bit floral. You should be able to detect this ripened scent with a good sniff of the whole fruit—no need to pierce the flesh.
How Can You Tell If An Apricot Has Gone Bad?
As you are learning about and preparing for how to store apricots, you should also be on the alert for apricots in your crop that have passed the point of ideal ripeness.
An overripe apricot will be incredibly soft or even squishy, typically an unpleasant texture to the touch. They may also develop a scent that is cloyingly sweet, erring on the side of musty. Once your fruits have reached this point, it’s better to simply eat them immediately if they are still in decent shape, or discard them if they are showing signs of molding.
Signs of an Unripe Apricot
Equally as important as learning how to store apricots is learning how to spot the unripe ones. While you can certainly store these still, via refrigeration or freezing, what you will end up with is a distinctly sour, unpleasant apricot that is hardly worth the effort of learning how to store it in the first place!
Your unripe apricots will be distinctly firmer than your ripe ones. They won’t give at all when you squeeze them gently, and they will likely lack as well in that sugary, fragrant scent that distinguishes the ripened apricot from the unripe or overripe.
However, if you have an unripe apricot on your hands, have no fear! You can ripen them up easily before moving on to the next step in how to store apricots.
How to Ripen Apricots off the Tree
Luckily, even if you have picked some apricots that are unripe—either to save them from frost or damage, or because that was what your grocery store or market had to offer—you are not stranded! An important step of how to store apricots is learning how to ripen them before storage.
If you have the time, simply place your unripe apricots on the counter, out of direct sunlight, and allow them to ripen at room temperature; this will take an average of 1 to 3 days. However, if you are in a time crunch, you can take your unripe apricots and place them in a paper bag, then fold down the top and store at room temperature. This will quicken the ripening process.
It is important not to refrigerate unripe apricots! This will slow the ripening process as well as compromise the sweet, juicy flavor for which apricots are best known.
How To Store Apricots To Extend Their Shelf Life
Regardless of the method you choose for storing apricots, it should be noted that certain practices will help extend the shelf life of your apricots regardless.
You should refrain from placing your apricots in direct sunlight whether they are ripe or unrripe, in order to avoid overripening them in a short amount of time. Also, you should not wash your apricots ahead of time, as this will also speed along the overripening process.
Refrigeration is the best method for storing apricots if you are looking to enjoy them within a week or less or storing them whole or cutting them!
The method for storing in the fridge is pretty straightforward. Once your apricots are ripe—whether they are picked or purchased that way, or after you ripen them off the tree—place them into a plastic ziptop bag or a plastic container. This will help keep them protected!
Then, simply place your bagged or otherwise contained apricots into the fridge, and you’re done! Just bear in mind that the longer your apricots are stored in the fridge, the more the cold temperatures run the risk of altering the taste and texture of your apricots. So be sure to consume them as soon as possible!
Ideally, refrigerated apricots should be consumed within 2 to 3 days for optimal taste and texture.
Freezing is another great method to consider when you are deciding how to store apricots. This will extend their shelf life up to 5 months!
In order to freeze your apricots, you will need to wash and dry the fruit, remove the pits, and cut the apricots into the desired size. Then, place your apricots on a sheet pan and let them rest in the freezer until they are frozen through. Once frozen, your apricot pieces can be moved to a zip-top bag or other storage container. Let out as much air as possible, then place your apricots in the deepest recesses of your freezer.
It’s important to note that prolonged freezing can alter the texture of certain fruits, so your apricots may be better for use in recipes than for snacking once you unfreeze them.
Dehydration is a great method for how to store apricots in a repurposed and delicious way! You can dehydrate your apricots using a standard dehydrator or by dehydrating them in the oven. Once they’re dehydrated, these little fruits take on a great “fruit leather” texture and they can last for a very long time.
In the pantry or refrigerator, dehydrated apricots will last from 6 to 12 months. And in the freezer, they can last up to a year and a half! This is a fantastic option for not only a great, portable apricot snack, but also for keeping your apricot crop for a long time.
Wrapping Up How to Store Apricots
Before you put to use all your newfound knowledge on how to store apricots, be sure to check out our Apricots page! This will give you lots of information on the nuances of different apricot types, how to put your apricots to use one they’re out of storage, whether these are a pet-friendly fruit, and so much more!