Apricots are eaten raw and cooked. They can be made into jam and other specialties. The kernels are used in the production of persipan and amaretto.
From Wikipedia: “An apricot is a fruit, or the tree that bears the fruit, of several species in the genus Prunus (stone fruits). Usually, an apricot tree is from the species P. armeniaca, but the species P. brigantina, P. mandshurica, P. mume, and P. sibirica are closely related, have similar fruit, and are also called apricots.”
“On average, bitter apricot kernels contain about 5% amygdalin and sweet kernels about 0.9% amygdalin. These values correspond to 0.3% and 0.05% of cyanide. Since a typical apricot kernel weighs 600 mg, bitter and sweet varieties contain respectively 1.8 and 0.3 mg of cyanide.”
“Dried apricots are a type of traditional dried fruit. When treated with sulfur dioxide (E220), the color is vivid orange. Organic fruit not treated with sulfur dioxide is darker in color and has a coarser texture. The world's largest producer of dried apricots is Turkey.”
“Apricots contain various phytochemicals, such as provitamin A beta-carotene and polyphenols, including catechins and chlorogenic acid. Taste and aroma compounds include sucrose, glucose, organic acids, terpenes, aldehydes and lactones. In England during the 17th century, apricot oil was used in herbalism treatments intended to act against tumors, swelling, and ulcers.”
“In a 100-gram amount, raw apricots supply 48 calories and are composed of 11% carbohydrates, 1% protein, less than 1% fat and 86% water. Raw apricots are a moderate source of vitamin A and vitamin C.
When apricots are dried, the relative concentration of nutrients is increased, with vitamin A, vitamin E, potassium and iron having Daily Values above 25%.”
“The Chinese associate the apricot with education and medicine. For instance, the classical word 杏壇 (literally: "apricot altar") which means "educational circle", is still widely used in written language. Chuang Tzu, a Chinese philosopher in the fourth century BCE, told a story that Confucius taught his students in a forum surrounded by the wood of apricot trees. The association with medicine in turn comes from the common use of apricot kernels as a component in traditional Chinese medicine, and from the story of Dong Feng (董奉), a physician during the Three Kingdoms period, who required no payment from his patients except that they plant apricot trees in his orchard upon recovering from their illnesses, resulting in a large grove of apricot trees and a steady supply of medicinal ingredients. The term "expert of the apricot grove" (杏林高手) is still used as a poetic reference to physicians.
The fact that apricot season is very short has given rise to the very common Egyptian Arabic and Palestinian Arabic expression filmishmish ("in apricot [season]") or bukra filmishmish ("tomorrow in apricot [season]"), generally uttered as a riposte to an unlikely prediction, or as a rash promise to fulfill a request.
The Turkish idiom bundan iyisi Şam'da kayısı (literally, the only thing better than this is an apricot in Damascus) means "it doesn't get any better than this".”