Take a plum and an apricot and mix them together until you get the best of both worlds.
Pluots are smooth skinned, like plums, while Apriums are slightly fuzzy, like apricots, but they have unique flavors and generally higher sugar levels than the standard varieties. The new fruits, which are called interspecifics, are complex hybrids of plum and apricot that are created by making several generations of crosses and selecting for desirable traits such as high sugar content.
Pluot and Aprium trees were introduced first to the home garden market in 1989.
Produce Pete says that the fruit is unusually sweet. "If you can get a ripe one, it's hard to stop eating them because they're so good. The flavor is fantastic." I expect they will become sought after because of their eating quality. Pluots do not have the bitterness in the skin that plums often have and Apriums have a more full-bodied flavor than an apricot.
A new commodity is being introduced into the market place known as the "Interspecific Plum." Interspecific plums are crosses between plums and apricots and sometimes plums and cherries or cherry-plums. Both "Pluots" and "Apriums" are now registered names for these Interspecifics; complex hybrids of two or more fruit species. Pluots have predominantly plum parentage and smooth skins like plums. Apriums resemble apricots, as their apricot parentage is expressed. Cherry-plum is not a registered name, however, it indicates another type of "interspecific" that is a cross between a cherry and a plum, primarily exhibiting plum features. (The original cherry-plum was created by crossing the sandcherry with the Japanese plum in the early 1800's. One example of a varietal name of cherry-plum is the Opata). There are currently some 15 to 20 known varieties that have been developed with about 9 varieties in commercial production. The principal State of Origin is California, which has approximately 2,500 acres of production. The first variety of the season characteristically matures in late May and the last variety of the season matures in early September, although there are recent reports that indicate that there may be a few varieties that mature as late as October.
The latest high-flavor stone fruit attracting oohs and aahs from consumers is the Pluot. If that sounds like a cross between a plum and an apricot it should. Geneticists call it an interspecific plum, a complex hybrid of plum and apricot.
The largest volume of these hybrids is in Pluots and Plumcots. Pluots have predominantly plum parentage and resemble plums with generally smooth skin and have a plum shape. Plumcots generally have equal parentage of plum and apricot and resemble plums in shape but can have the skin of an apricot.
In general, all of these hybrid varieties have an intense flavor, much like a blend of fruit juices where the mixture of taste is an improvement over any of the separate ingredients. Additionally, the sugar content of these varieties is much higher than in standard plums or apricots, yielding fruit of incomparable sweetness.
From time to time, when all conditions are just right, nature can produce truly unique treasures. Such is the case with Pluots, with a sweet and savory blend of plum and apricot flavor.
Other recipes from Produce Pete.