The origin of the Apricot is uncertain hence often disputed and unsettled. Many believe it originated in Armenia while others believe it originated in China. Another belief is that Apricots originated in Asia more than 4,000 years ago, migrating to Persia and the Mediterranean. However, Seeds of the Apricot have been discovered during archaeological excavations of the Garni Temple and Shengavit settlement, having a history of 6,000 years. Alexander the Great brought the fruit to Greece. English and Spanish settlers brought Apricots to North America during the 1700s. . Most of modern American production of Apricots comes from the seedlings carried to the west coast by Spanish missionaries. Almost all U.S. commercial production is in California, with some in Washington and Utah. Now Apricots are cultivated throughout the temperate regions of the world, especially in the Mediterranean. In 2016, the top five producers of Apricots were Turkey, Iran, Uzbekistan, Algeria and Italy.
Apricot derives from praecocia (praecoquus) as “cooked or ripened beforehand” [in this case meaning early ripening], and from Greek πραικόκιον (praikókion) as “Apricot”. Its scientific name Prunus armeniaca (Armenian plum) derives from the assumption the fruit originated from Armenia. In Latin, Apricot means precious. It probably refers to the fact that Apricots ripen earlier than other summer fruit. In Latin, the Apricot is called praecocquum, which means "early-ripening peach." In China, Apricots were once called "moons of the faithful" and were thought to enhance women's fertility. The English name first appeared in the 16th century as abrecock from the Middle French aubercot or later abricot, from Catalan a(l)bercoc.
During the 17th-century, Apricot oil was used to treat tumors, ulcers, and swellings. In 2011, a systematic review deduced that claims that amygdalin and laetrile found in high concentration in Apricots have a medicinal benefit to cancer patients were true. In Europe, Apricots were used as an aphrodisiac.
Apricots are widely eaten fresh as a dessert fruit. The fruit is also widely made into jam. Apricots may also be used in desserts, in juices, and for flavoring. Dried Apricots are a type of traditional dried fruit. Dried Apricots have an intense sweet-sour flavor. For example, Egyptians usually dry Apricots, add sweetener, and then use them to make a drink called amar al-dīn.