Apricots are one of my favourite fruits and always remind me that it’s the start of the summer.

They are eaten without the stone. However, the apricot kernel can be used. The problem is that the kernel is inside the stone and is generally not worth the effort to extract. If you feel so included – you can break open the stone and add the kernel to any smoothie.

Apricots have quite a short season at the start of summer – and tend to be quite expensive outside of that. Many growers now force them to extend the season – but this impacts the taste and the texture. The fact that apricot season is very short has given rise to the very common Arabic expression “filmishmish”, literally “in the time of the apricots”, generally uttered as a riposte to an unlikely prediction, or as a rash promise to fulfil a request.

Apricots can be used dried. Just blitz them with a bit of water first to break them up – or soak them overnight. They are normally sweeter than fresh – unless you get really good fresh ones.

Dried apricots are often treated with sulphites – around 1 in 100 people are sensitive to these. So, just be aware. You should be able to find them without. Unsulphured dried apricots are naturally dark in colour, because no preservatives are used to keep the apricots looking bright and orange. The drying process is preservative in itself, and the apricots are nutritionally identical to the sulphured type – except without the additives.