You only need to list a few of the varietal names of pluots—’Flavor King’, ‘Flavor Queen’, ‘Flavor Prince’, ‘Flavor Supreme’, ‘Flavor Heart’, ‘Flavorosa’, ‘Flavorella’, ‘Flavor Grenade’—to understand the most outstanding attribute of these hybrids between plums and apricots.
Pluots have the same smooth skin as plums but are generally larger. Like plums, their skins and flesh vary from red to purple to dappled to yellow to emerald green. In fact, an exceptionally tasty-sweet variety is named ‘Emerald Queen’. From sweet to sweet-tart, you certainly will find a variety that suits your taste.
A pluot—which is ¾ plum and ¼ apricot—is all about flavor. It has the flavorful blend of its parents and a higher concentration of sugar.
Ways to serve pluots
Pluots can be eaten fresh out of hand as a snack or dessert. They also can be stewed or used in jellies, jams, sauces, puddings, crisps, cobblers, cakes, and tarts. Pluots can be poached or baked like pears and peaches. Some plums can be dried and served as prunes.
Pluots can be eaten fresh out of hand or cooked.
- Serve quartered or sliced in cream or milk.
- Slice and add raw to fruit salads.
- Fill cavities with soft cheese such as Brie.
- Use firm-ripe plums in poultry or fish salads.
- Use in fruit compotes, tarts, crisps, and cobblers.
- Stew for chutney preserves.
- Use in jams or jellies.
- Use in pies, cakes, puddings, muffins, and ice cream.
- Pluots can replace cherries in most desserts.
How to choose pluots
Like plums, look for pluots that are plump, well-colored, and firm to the touch. Avoid pluots that are too soft or too hard.
How to ripen pluots
Pluots will ripen at room temperature. When a pluot has ripened its skin will lose its shine. Then it can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
But the best pluot eating comes when the fruit yields slightly to gentle pressure. That’s how you should pick a pluot at the farm market. Then take it home, wash it gently, slice it in half around the pit, rotate the halves to separate, pop out the pit, and pop the fruit in your mouth.
Pluots, like plums, come to harvest from early summer through the first weeks of late summer.
Two flavorful pluots
You might compare the flavor of a pluot to a blend of fruit juices. That’s why you will often hear the pluot described as intensely sweet and fruity.
That’s not too surprising given that the pluot’s parents are the plum and the apricot. Because the pluot is ¾ plum, it is no surprise that it has a plum-like shape, skin, and flesh. The pluot also has the plum’s texture and rich, juicy sweetness.
Five friends tasted five different pluot varieties available at the farm market this week. The pluots they tasted were: ‘Emerald Beauty’, ‘Flavor Treat’, ‘Flavor Grenade’, ‘Dapple Dandy’, and ‘Black Cat’.
They rated two varieties well ahead of the others. They were partial to ‘Flavor Grenade’ and ‘Emerald Beauty’, with ‘Flavor Grenade’ being the favorite of four of the five tasters.
Here’s how ‘Flavor Grenade’ and ‘Emerald Beauty’ compared:
Emerald Beauty has deep rich yellow to emerald green skin and is conical like an apricot, though larger. Eaten out of hand, its flesh is amber and plum-like near the surface but descends to an apricot-like pit that separates from the flesh just like an apricot. While the initial taste is sweet and plum-like, the aftertaste is remarkably apricot. The flesh immediately around the pit has almost the exact texture and taste of an apricot.
Flavor Grenade has the more traditionally rounded shape of a large plum and its coloring is similar to a light-skinned plum with streaks and speckles of amber and red. Eaten out of hand its flesh is amber to the pit with a plum-like texture and juiciness to the last bite.
While the flavor of the Emerald Beauty is reminiscent of the apricot, the Flavor Grenade is simply an explosion of sweet fruit juices: the rich sweetness of a ripe plum and the drippy sugary taste of a very ripe apricot. “Wow!” is how one of our tasters described it.
Pluots are the late 20th-century creation of a California farmer named Floyd Zaiger. Zaiger’s work with pluots–and another apricot-plum hybrid called an aprium–has been built on the foundation of another California fruit breeder, Luther Burbank. One hundred years ago, Burbank, who was the horticultural equivalent of Thomas Edison, introduced more than 100 varieties of plums—including the taste standard the Santa Rosa plum– and his own plum-apricot hybrid called the plumcot.
The pluot is a hybrid between different Prunus species, also called interspecific plums.
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