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Pluots: Kitchen Basics

Pluots harvested1

Pluots harvestedYou 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. 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.

A pluot’s flavor will explode in your mouth.

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.

Plumcots are still around, but the pluot has captured the imagination of a new generation.

Pluots have the same smooth skin as a plum 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 name Emerald Queen. From sweet to sweet-tart, you certainly will find a variety that suits your taste.

Choose. Like plums, look for pluots that are plump, well colored and firm to the touch. Avoid pluots that are too soft or too hard.

Ripen. 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.

Just picked pluots, like plums, are available from early summer through the first weeks of late summer.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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