By now you probably already know how cheap I can be. I troll the aisles of Smart & Final for the well-priced necessities I know are the same quality everywhere (packaged items like flour and chips; basic cheeses like mild cheddar and mozzarella; and mason jars so I can show off my whimsical nature). I live across the street from a Whole Foods but I rarely go in (um, and pay 40% more for Naked Juice's Green Machine? Thanks but no thanks). I did something out of character the other day and shopped at Gelson's, a grocery I typically only go to for its high-quality meats and seafood. See, when it comes to meat, I don't mess around. After buying fresh tuna steak for my tartare I cruised the produce section to see if I would find anything interesting. And there it was, pluots.
They were only $6, which, though on the pricey side, was worth the culinary discovery for myself. I had no idea what they were so, needless to say, I bought them. And loved them.
I Googled "pluots" as I scarfed down these sweet juicy treats. As it turns out, they're plum and apricot hybrids. To the eyes and hands, they look and feel like plums. To the mouth, they feel a bit heavier like apricots, but they have the tart finish even ripe plums yield. They were soft but not squishy and juicy but not runny. If you can find them at your local grocery I highly recommend them for a refreshing summer bite.
Some facts about pluots
If you're curious, here's more info about this fruit:
- They're probably a great source of vitamin C, vitamin A and fiber.
- You can serve them raw or cooked.
- Some call them "dinosaur eggs" because of their egg-like shape and pinkish color with red spotting.
A history of plum-apricot hybrids
Pluots, apriums, apriplums and plumcots are actually all different. Plant breeder Luther Burbank first successfully crossed plums with apricots in the late 19th century, which he dubbed plumcots. Apparently, others call these apriplums. They were known as 50/50 hybrids -- equally half plum and half apricot.
But as these fruits were created more and more, the lineage changed slightly. Thus, the predominantly-plum pluots -- about 75% plum and 25% apricot -- were born, courtesy of Floyd Zaiger. Still with me? There's more.
Later on, sometime in the 1980s, Zaiger created a predominantly apricot hybrid. These apriums were about 75% apricot and 25% plum. From the outside, they look more like apricots and their flesh is typically dense. Unlike pluots, they're most readily available early in the fruit season. They're also mostly gold but they might have some red.
It's hard to remember which is which, but we can summarize it a little more simply (I think):
- Plumcots/apriplums: Equal parts plum and apricot. Red on the outside with gold flesh. Like this.
- Pluots: Mostly plum. Kind of apricot-ish. Reddish purple on the outside with red flesh. These, of course.
- Apriums: Mostly apricot. Kind of plum-ish. Almost entirely gold. Like this.
I have yet to find an aprium at my grocery, but for now, I'll nosh on these tasty pluots. Rinse them, cut them up and serve them with other fleshy fruits - I chose a ripe peach - preferably on a white plate, to bring out their color.