Pluots are a type of fruit created by cross-pollinating plums with apricots. They are one of a handful of possible combinations, including apriums and plumcots, of these two fruits, each with its own slightly different flavor profile. Plumcots have been around for most of human history wherever plums and apricots grow together. They form from one plum parent and one apricot parent, for a fairly even split with slightly more plum-like characteristics. Apriums were initially created by crossing plumcots back with apricots, to enhance their apricot flavor, while pluots were made by crossing plumcots back with plums to enhance the more plum-like characteristics.
All three crosses look similar to plums, but are often lighter in color and have a tangier flavor, thanks to their apricot ancestors.
Pluots, apriums and plumcots come in a dizzying variety of cultivars, many with colorful names like Flavor Grenade, Dapple Dandy, and King Kong. They can be enjoyed fresh or incorporated into any recipe that calls for plums.
Pluots are high in fiber, vitamin C and potassium, making them an excellent choice for a mid-day snack.
Here are a few recipes to inspire you to explore these delicious and unusual fruits. (Don’t worry, if you don’t have pluots on hand, any of these can be made with plums, or with a combination of the two):
5 cups fresh pluots, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg
1/2 cup butter
Combine pluots and brown sugar and stir well. Pour into a buttered 11” x 8” baking dish (or similar). Sift together the flour, granulated sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Beat the egg and add it to the mixture, stirring lightly with a fork until the mixture becomes crumbly. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the plums evenly. Melt the butter and drizzle it over the pluots and topping. Bake at 375° for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown.
6 cups pluots, pitted and chopped
1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 large jalapeno pepper, minced
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large bowl, stir together pluots, cucumber, cilantro, lime juice, sugar, garlic, ginger, jalapeno, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add more lime juice and/or sugar if needed. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
4 1/2 cups pluots, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup water
7 1/2 cups sugar
1 (1.75-oz.) package powdered fruit pectin
8 half-pint canning jars with lids and rings
Sterilize and dry enough mason jars to store four pints of jam, and set aside. In a large pot, bring the pluots and water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Quickly mix in the pectin. Return to a boil, and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam that forms and discard. Wipe off the rims and run the spatula along the inside wall of the jar to let air bubbles escape. Place the metal lid and then screw on the band.
To preserve your jam for up to six months, process it by placing a wire rack in a deep pot, bringing the water to a boil, and boiling the jars for ten minutes. Carefully remove the jars and set them on a towel, allowing them to cool overnight. Check the lids to see if they sealed before storing in a cool place.