When an apricot is ripe and ready to be eaten, it is soft to the touch and is so juicy you’ll need at least one napkin while eating it. If your apricots are hard, just store them in a paper bag on the kitchen counter for a day or so, then keep them cool in the refrigerator for up to a week so you can eat them when you’re ready. Apricots can be prepared many ways, including raw, pureed, cooked and frozen.

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Slice a ripe apricot around the natural seam, then twist the apricot in half and gently remove the pit. Cut the halves into smaller slices or simply eat the halves to enjoy the fruit raw.

Purée apricot slices in a food processor or blender until smooth for quick baby food. The puree can also be used as a substitute for oil when baking. The result: desserts with less fat.

Cook sliced apricots in a saucepan filled with ¼ inch water; simmer briefly, just to heat them through. Consider drizzling honey over them before serving, and eat the slices warm.

Freeze apricot halves by placing them on a baking sheet in the freezer until frozen solid. Then put them in a plastic freezer bag, label and date the bag (so you know what’s in it later and how long it has been in the freezer), and return them to the freezer. Use thawed apricots in baby food as suggested in Step 2, or cook them as suggested in Step 3.