Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Fruit of the Month: Pluots

As you can see, this month's Fruit of the Month entry is squeezing in just under the wire. We've only been to the H-Mart once this month, and I didn't see new produce options there that struck my fancy, so I nearly ended up missing my deadline. But fortunately, last week's sale flier for our local Stop & Stop featured a prominent listing for pluots at $1.99 a pound, so I grabbed a few of those.

Pluots are a cultivated hybrid between plums and apricots. (According to Wikipedia, they're distinct from "plumcots," which are a naturally occurring hybrid with more apricot-like traits.) However, as you can see in the picture, the ones I bought don't look much like either of their parents; they're definitely larger than an apricot, and larger than most plums, too, with a distinctive tapered shape that's quite unlike the plums I'm familiar with. And they taste very different from their parent fruits, as well. Their skin is extremely tart, while the flesh underneath is quite sweet and bland—almost totally devoid of any distinctive flavor at all. So the only way to make them even moderately palatable is to make sure to get both skin and flesh in every bite and chew them together. That way, the sweet flesh will moderate the sourness of the skin, which in turn will add some character to the otherwise flavorless flesh.

Not all pluots taste the same, of course. Wikipedia lists over 20 varieties, but I couldn't tell from the list which type I'd bought at the store, and the flier didn't identify them. The little dinosaur icon on the label may indicate that these are supposed to be "dinosaur egg" pluots, another name for the "Dapple Dandy" variety, but the don't really seem to match the description in Wikipedia. For one thing, it says that the Dapple Dandy has "firm flesh," while I found these pluots to be extremely juicy; I quickly found that I couldn't eat them out of my hand without dribbling the sticky juice all over the place. I ended up having to put the pluot in a bowl and eat it while holding it over the bowl to catch the juice.

On the whole, I wasn't terribly impressed with these particular pluots, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't like other varieties. Unfortunately, since I don't know the name of this one, it may not be that simple to steer clear of it in the future; I'll just have to go by looks. So if I see any more dark-red, pointy-bottomed pluots roughly equal to a peach in size, I'll probably give them a miss. But a pluot of a different color, or a different shape, or a different size, might also prove to have a different and more appealing flavor.
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