I’m a fruit fiend, frankly. Peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries…and don’t even let me near a basket of strawberries. Not if you want any, anyway.
But when you’re trying out new stuff, fruit is pretty old hat. There may be 5000 varieties of peaches in existence, but when all is said and done, you eat it like a peach, amiright?
Still, the number of varieties can be daunting. Take pluots, as I did at the market today. Pluots are a hybrid of plums and apricots that go a little heavier on the plum than the apricot, but within that description, there are a whole range of varieties, and each one tastes a little different. I very much like the ones that are often called Dinosaur Eggs or the other speckled varieties, but I haven’t seen those around just yet. Maybe they’re later bloomers.
Pluot skin, of any variety, is a bit more speckled than plain old plums, but otherwise they really can look almost identical if you get the dark ones like I picked up today. Pluot skin is smooth like plums, not fuzzy like apricots, and until you get your favorites memorized – and even then, unless you know your farmer or something – pluots are one fruit that you absolutely HAVE to sample. Pluots will always have a touch of sour, but they can also be very sour. Some of that depends on the ripeness of the fruit, of course, but I’ve found that a lot of it is varietal. These were listed as Santa Rosa Pluots, which I’ve not heard of before, but am assuming they’re hybridized off Santa Rosa Plums. They have a complex sweetness when ripe, with a tiny hint of sour, sort of the equivalent of really good plain yogurt.
Let them get as ripe as you dare, almost too ripe, to get them as sweet and juicy as possible. A ripe pluot will have a small bit of give rather than be hard, but they don’t smell very floral the way peaches or apricots do, and they only get quite soft when they’re almost overdone, so ask if you’re not quite sure how ripe yours are. Since a lot of pluots have greenish skin, hints of green near the stem aren’t a good indicator. Pluot meat can be anywhere from yellowish to almost purple, sometimes even greenish-purple, though if it’s greenish on the inside that usually means it’s not ripe. Otherwise, the variety is as endless as, well, the varieties of pluots.
Because of their complexity of flavor, I prefer to eat pluots straight up (unlike every other stone fruit, which I prefer to bake into innumerable delicious items that all go great with ice cream…). If they do get too ripe, or if they are far too sour, saute with a little cinnamon and eat as a saucy dessert. If they’re too sour, add a little sugar to the mix, and you can always add a little butter, but when they’re simply overly ripe they really don’t need it. If you have any recipes in which pluots really shine, post below!
Peel? Nope. The skin is delicious – a little sharp around the edges, a little bit of chew like apple peels, but perfectly lovely.
Edible seed? No. It’s a stone fruit. This variety at least, is not a freestone, which means a lot of peach meat will hang on to the pit – another reason to just eat it straight up.
Edible when raw? Definitely. Wait until ripe.
Worth the price of organic? The consensus is yes. Stone fruits are notoriously hard to grow, which means if someone’s growing them conventionally, they’re likely loading up on all sorts of chemicals to keep all the enemies at bay. While pluots aren’t specifically listed on most “Must Buy Organic” lists, plums are high on the list, and since you’re eating the skin usually, I’d err on organic all the way.
In season: Summer.
Best with: A sunny day and a napkin.
How to Store: Ripen on the counter, in a paper bag to speed the process. Store on the counter if you plan on eating soon; put them in the fridge if you want them to keep a few days longer. Once ripe, they’ll keep on the counter about 2 days, in the fridge maybe as many as 4, but that’s pushing it.