When is a plum not a plum? When it’s a pluot… or a plumcot, or an aprium.
While summer stone fruits were once relatively predictable—peaches, apricots, plums, nectarines, and not a whole lot else—today the summer fruit stands are stocked with all sorts of hybrids.
The crossbred fruit phenomenon has roots stretching back to the nineteenth century, but widespread success only in the modern day. As NPR reports
, the first hybrid of this nature was a plumcot—half plum, half apricot, a genetic split down the middle. But Zaiger’s Genetics
, a company in Modesto, California, has spent the last few decades creating, and then patenting, an awful lot more.
Like the aprium: about one-quarter plum and three-quarters apricot, with an apricot’s fuzzy exterior but a plum’s sweet, juicy interior. Or the pluot, three-fifths plum and two-fifths apricot, with a plum’s veneer but a softer bite. Plus the nectaplum, nectarcot, and even a “peacotum”—a three-way cross between a peach, apricot, and plum.
Not just simple crosses, these hybrids are selectively bred over a number of years, with attention to flavor, texture, and color. As a result, they often end up sweeter and more intensely flavored than stone fruits bred less rigorously. Whether eaten out of hand or worked into a dish, pluots and apriums are fantastic summer treats. NPR offers a number of recipes
for the fruits—what are some of your favorites?
Photo by Pat Tanumihardja for NPR