Over the last few years, delectable plum-apricot hybrid fruits (which are often trademarked) have become increasingly available in the marketplace. This guide to pluots™, plumcots™, and apriums™ offer tips on buying, storage, seasonality, and ideas for using these delicious fruits, with links to recipes.
Dinosaur Egg™ Pluots
Super sweet, plump, and wrapped in smooth, vividly colored skins, several varieties of these plum-apricot cousins have been developed.
The following is adapted from Melissa’s Great Book of Produce and Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce, both by Cathy Thomas, reprinted with permission of Melissa’s Produce.
How pluots and plumcots look and taste
Wrapped in eye-popping exterior colors, some display solid hues; others are generously speckled. Their juicy flesh is smooth-textured, imbued with flowery fragrances.
Sugar content of these hybrids is higher than either that of plums or apricots alone, making them irresistibly sweet, with the occasional tart edge.
Are these varieties interchangeable in recipes? Yes, these fruits can be used interchangeably when one or the other is called for.
Pluots (plum + apricot) are usually a 75 percent plum and 25 percent apricot cross; they look and taste more like plums than apricots. The taste, texture, fragrance, and appearance of pluots can be similar to either apricots or plums. Pluots make up about 98 percent of the yearly crop.
Plumcots (also plum + apricot) are a 50-50 cross between apricots and plums; often they’re more like apricots than plums, with golden skin and bright-yellow flesh.
Apriums (apricots + plum) are 75 percent apricot and 25 percent plum and; most often they have yellow skin and taste more like apricots than plums.
Red Mottled Pluots
BUYING AND STORING
Search for these hybrids at farm markets, orchard, and produce markets. If you can’t find them locally, order online from sources like Melissa’s Produce.
Look for plump fruit that’s firm, yet gives slightly to gentle pressure. Avoid those with shriveling or soft spots. Store ripe fruit up to 3 days in a cool location in the kitchen, or refrigerate loose in the crisper drawer for up to 7 days.
If underripe: Use the brown bag ripening technique for fruit that is slightly underripe. Simply place fruit in a small paper bag; loosely close it and store at room temperature out of direct sunlight. Check the fruit daily; once it gives to gentle pressure, transfer to the fruit drawer of your refrigerator.
Domestic: May – July
Domestic: May – September
Global: January – March
Pluots are the most readily available of the plum apricot hybrids. Here are some specific varieties:
How to prep
Wash fruits thoroughly with cold running water. The thin skin doesn’t have to be peeled away. Most of these fruits are semi-freestone, meaning they can be cut in half from top to bottom, following suture (lengthwise seam). Twist halves in opposite directions and fruit will break in half.
Pits cling more stubbornly in some varieties than others. Some release by prying with a teaspoon; others need to be cut free with a paring knife.
Some common varieties of pluots, plumcots & the like
DAPPLE DANDY: Sometimes labeled Dinosaur Egg, a trademarked brand) One of the most common varieties. Large with purple-red smooth skin dotted with yellow specks. Flesh ranges from golden to red. Very sweet.
EMERALD BAUT: Greenish-yellow skin with yellow flesh. Often the sweetest pluot.
FLAVOR FALL: Dark purple skin with yellow flesh. Ripens late in season. Sweet.
GATOR: Marbled red and yellowish-green skin with yellow flesh. Very sweet.
FLAVOR KING: Red skin with yellow speckles, yellow flesh blushed with red. Delicious flavor profile, similar to Santa Rosa plums but without acidity.
FLAVOROSA: Usually first of season variety. Medium sized with dark purple skin and red flesh. u Very sweet with interesting plum-like flavors.
FLAVOR QUEEN: Pale green to yellow skin with yellow flesh. Very sweet and complex flavor.
NECTACOTUM: Red skin with yellow specks and red flesh with yellow blush.Very sweet and nectarine-like flavor.
SWEET TREATS: Pale green to yellow skin with yellow flesh. Very, very sweet with interesting, complex flavor.
MORE VARIETIES: It seems like new varieties are being developed all the time! Others (many organically grown) include: Casselman, Santa Rosa, and Grand Rosa.
Pluots and their kin are good sources of vitamin C and a significant source of vitamins A and K. A full cup has only 76 calories, and virtually no fat. See a full nutritional profile of pluots.
Basic ways to use pluots, plumcots, and apriums
The best and easiest way to enjoy these fruits when they’re perfectly lush and rip is to simply eat raw out of hand. Or serve sliced or diced (pitted, of course), to serve alone or as part of a summer fruit salad or salsa.
Just as you’d use plums and apricots, you can use these hybrids in baked goods, including pies, tarts, cakes, or custards. Or use for jam, preserves, or as a garnish.
Serving suggestions and links to recipes
Couscous boost: To about 2 cups cooked couscous, add 1/3 cup chopped pluots (or apriums or plumcots), 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, and 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice.
Pluot-pineapple salsa: Combine 4 chopped pluots (or apriums or plumcots), 1 cup diced pineapple, 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro, 1/4 cup chopped sweet onion, 1 jalapeño (seeded and minced), and 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice. Stir together and serve with tortilla chips.
Balsamic-dressed side dish or salad: Cut each of 6 large pluots into eighths and place in medium bowl. In a small bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon sugar until dissolved. Pour over the pluots and toss. Cut 8 large mint leaves into thin strips. Add to pluot mixture and toss. To serve as a salad, arrange mixed greens on small salad plates. Top with thinly sliced tomatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon pluot mixture over the top.
Swap-in for standard plums: You can replace ordinary plums with these more festive cousins in any recipe, sweet, savory, or sweet-savory. One example is this gorgeous Summer Plum and Beet Salad.
Pluot crisp: As is true for many stone fruits, pluots make delicious fruit crisps. Here’s an easy Plumcot and Blueberry Crisp (to veganize, just swap in vegan butter).
Jam and fruit butter: Here’s a recipe for Vanilla Bean Pluot Jam. And, as you know, there’s no butter in fruit butter! If you have a plethora of these fruits, Pluot Butter is a great way to cook them down to make a lovely spread.
Sweet-and-savory salads: Combine these delectable fruits with tender greens. Pluot Summer Salad is a simple one to try.
Juices: Pluots, plumcots, apriums — they’re all great additions to your juicing regimen. Try this Beet, Carrot, and Pluot Juice.
See more of this site’s Good Food Guides.
Melissa’s Great Book of Produce and Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce (both by Cathy Thomas) are available wherever books are sold.