(CNN) -- January 9 is National Apricot Day. Whether you say "ay-pricot" or "ah-pricot," there's no denying this smaller relative of the peach is delicious.
While apricots are native to China, it's the Persians who put them on the map. Turkey is well known for its apricot crop, as is nearby Iran.
The word apricot means "precious" in Latin. The stone fruit got this name because it's one of the first fruit to be harvested each summer. Because of the short growing season for apricots, they're often dried. This version contains much more sugar than fresh apricots, but is an excellent source of iron.
Fresh apricots are high in vitamins A and C, potassium and fiber. Just one ounce of apricots contain 20% of your daily dose of beta-carotene, which is good for your eyes and skin.
Eating fresh apricots is the easiest way to serve these golden gems (just watch out for the pit!). If you're looking for something a bit more innovative, consider preserving them, baking them in a cobbler or poaching them to serve over ice cream.