Sunday, March 6, 2011


Plumcots are a 50%/50% cross between plums and apricots developed by Luther Burbank in the late 19th century. Growers found them tough to grow, harvest and ship. Floyd Zaiger, of Zaiger's Genetics, using Burbank's work as a foundation, created more complex hybrids, backcrossing plumcots with plums, and developed a fruit with more plum-like than apricot characteristics, about 75% plum to 25% apricot.  Zaiger's Genetics trademarked the name pluot in 1990 with the hope of distinguishing it from the plumcot which had a bad reputation. Many different varieties of pluots have been developed, Wikipedia lists 24, with varying colors of fruit and some having more or less plum characteristics versus apricot. An article in Slate, "Plu-What?", gives a nice history of the pluot development. Floyd Zaiger and Zaiger's Genetics also developed and trademarked another plum/apricot cross known as the aprium. Unlike the pluot, which is more plum and less apricot, the aprium is more apricot and less plum, about 75% to 25%. Presumably it was developed by backcrossing plumcots with apricots. Dave Wilson Nursery has pictures and descriptions of 11 varieties of pluots and 2 varieties of apriums.

I first saw pluots for sale in a store outside of Zion National Park, probably shortly after they were developed and introduced in the early 1990s. I recall that they were horribly expensive, but I bought one and tried it because of the novelty. I've noticed them in stores a few times since, but just recently saw two different varieties, a red variety with a red and white fruit 
and a green variety with a greenish/yellowish fruit. 
From pictures, it appears that the red variety may be called the Dapple Dandy, also known as the Dino Egg, 
described as having a "maroon and yellow dapple" skin and "creamy white and red" flesh. This is the original pluot that was first developed.  I believe the green variety may be Flavor Queen, described as having a "greenish-yellow skin" and "amber-orange flesh."
I found the Dapple Dandy to be sweeter than the Flavor Queen and I found the Flavor Queen had a tinge of sour to it. 
I mixed half a cut-up Dapple Dandy and half a cut-up Flavor Queen in my customary morning bowl of boiled wheat with yogurt and they were a wonderful mixture that went extraordinarily well together. I really enjoy them in my morning mixture and I believe I like the Dapple Dandy better than any plums that I can recall eating. 

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