The Wenatchee apricot, also called the Wenatchee Moorpark apricot, has long been the ideal choice for cool, rainy areas. This variety is highly resistant to rain and frost, which has made it a popular fruit tree for regions in the northern United States, including the Pacific Northwest.
If you are looking for a hardy fruit tree that consistently produces good harvests, the Wenatchee apricot might be the perfect choice for your garden.
History of the Wenatchee Apricot
The Wenatchee apricot has a long history, having been first produced in 1908 by C&O Nursery. Since then, it has enjoyed popularity in regions usually hostile to apricot trees, such as Oregon and Washington State.
Tree / Fruit Characteristics
The Wenatchee apricot tree is a moderately-sized tree that is resistant to frost and moisture and produces large fruit yields. It is particularly known for its fast fruiting time. Unlike most fruit trees — even other apricot varieties — the Wenatchee may produce fruit in its first year.
This fruit is large and light yellow with a delicious, firm flesh.
The Wenatchee apricot can be planted in growing zones five through nine. It is a particular favorite in cool, rainy climates such as the Pacific Northwest. This is because of the variety’s resistance to frost and excessive moisture, which can cause disease in less hardy fruit trees.
Size and Spacing
The Wenatchee apricot tree is considered a semi-dwarf tree. It reaches between 12 and 18 feet at maturity, with widespread branches. Make sure to plant the tree in an area with good soil drainage. Some gardeners prefer to plant in a raised garden bed to keep the soil well drained.
The Wenatchee apricot is self-pollinating, which means that you will get a fruit harvest even from a single tree. However, many gardeners prefer to plant another apricot variety nearby to promote cross-pollination.
This can increase your fruit yields and improve the health of both trees. A popular choice for cross-pollinating with the Wenatchee apricot tree is the Puget Gold apricot.
The Wenatchee apricot tree is a low-maintenance fruit tree with moderate needs. The biggest requirement is pruning, which is essential to help promote fruit growth and tree health.
The Wenatchee apricot tree requires moderate to full sunlight, at least four to six hours each day. The variety does well in cool, rainy regions, but for best results needs a good amount of sunlight.
The frequency with which you should water your Wenatchee apricot tree depends on where you live. If you live in a region that averages about an inch of rain in 10 days, you do not need to water.
However, if you have less rain, make sure to water the tree around the roots about once a week. Wenatchee apricot trees need moderate amounts of water. Alternatively, you may water once the soil around the root system is dry down to three inches below the ground surface.
Some gardeners prefer to add a layer of mulch around the root system to provide regular access while still allowing for good drainage.
Pruning and training your apricot trees is one of the most important parts of care. The specifics may take some time to learn, as they can be complicated especially while the tree is immature. Ensuring that the tree has space between fruiting branches and no dead wood will improve its health and increase your fruit yield in the coming harvest season.
Because the Wenatchee produces such large yields, you may want to prune excess fruiting branches in the early spring. This will promote better, healthier growth in the remaining parts of the tree.
Common Uses For The Fruit
There is no limit to the ways you can enjoy a Wenatchee apricot. However, this variety is popularly eaten raw or dried as well as used in canning and preserving.
What Do Wenatchee Apricots Taste Like?
Wenatchee apricots are known not only for their delicately sweet flavor, but also for their extremely soft, tender flesh. In fact, they are soft enough that they usually cannot be shipped without risking ruining the fruit. However, picked straight off the tree, they are tender and delicious.
Like other varieties of apricot, the Wenatchee can be incorporated into recipes in many ways. This variety is more often eaten raw or dried or put into preserves, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find ways to cook it as well.
Some popular ways to use apricots in cooking include baking in pastries or pies, reducing to a glaze for meat or baked goods, or even stewed as a standalone dish.
Wenatchee apricots are frequently enjoyed raw, especially since they are so soft. You may eat them on their own or incorporate them raw into yogurt, smoothies, fruit salads, desserts, and more.
Canning / Freezing / Drying
Wenatchee apricots are a popular choice for preserving. They are ideal for jams, jellies, marmalades, and other preserves. This can be a good way to use up excess fruit from especially large harvests.
Many home cooks enjoy freezing or drying Wenatchee apricots as well. Freezing allows you to keep the fruit on hand into the winter, when it can be thawed and put into baked goods or other recipes. You can even dry apricots at home using a food dehydrator, which similarly increases their shelf life.
[No recipes on Minnetonka Orchards for apricots]
Health Benefits of Wenatchee Apricots
Apricots have many health benefits, and the Wenatchee variety is no exception. This sweet fruit is loaded with vitamins. In particular, it is an excellent source of antioxidants, including beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
They also have high levels of vitamins A, C, and E, as well as fiber and potassium. Most of the fiber is found in the fruit’s peel. To get the most benefit, enjoy apricots whole and unpeeled.
These vitamins may help improve the health of your eyes and skin. Apricots promote skin health by increasing collagen production, improving skin elasticity.
They can also help improve your gut health by promoting the growth of health gut bacteria and helping flush unhealthy bacteria from your body. Gut health is linked to many conditions including obesity.
Due to the high levels of fiber, potassium, and water, apricots can also help keep you hydrated. Better hydration is also linked to a healthy gut microbiome.
Where To Buy Wenatchee Apricot Trees?
Where To Buy Wenatchee Apricots
Wenatchee apricots may not be commonly sold in commercial grocery stores, unless you live in the Pacific Northwest. If you want to sample them, you may need to find a local grower who specializes in certain apricot varieties.
How Long Does It Take Wenatchee Apricot Trees to Produce Fruit?
Wenatchee apricots are known for being exceptionally fast-growing. Unlike most other apricot varieties, they may produce fruit in their first year of being planted. Proper pruning and watering can promote faster fruit growth as well.
When Does The Wenatchee Apricot Tree Produce Fruit?
Wenatchee apricot trees have an earlier-than-average fruiting time, being ready for harvest in early mid-season. This means that you can usually expect to have a fruit crop by the middle of June.
The Wenatchee apricot tree produces fragrant, ornamental flowers during the blooming season and has a dependable output of fruit in the early summer. If you live in a region with cold, rainy springs, this variety could be the perfect choice for your garden.