by Keith Tsuchiyama
Grown in the San Joaquin Valley, Plumcots are known for their sweet, juicy plum-like flavor with a hint of apricot goodness. That’s because they’re a hybrid fruit, the result of carefully controlled cross-pollination between plums and apricots.
Different varieties of plums crossed with different varieties of apricots have yielded a wide array of plumcot varieties with more arriving every year. Each variety has a relatively short window of availability, about three weeks on average, and each variety has its own unique appearance and flavor attributes. Over the years, our partner, Family Tree Farms has perfected the process of cross-pollination to bring us the sweetest, juiciest fruit available.
Plumcots come in a very wide array of colors so don’t limit yourself by looking for just one color; some of the sweetest varieties are actually bright green. The fruit should be firm with just a slight “give” when gently squeezed. Avoid fruit that is overripe, characterized by loose skin and a “watery” feel to the fruit. Plumcots will continue to ripen at room temperature. Once the fruit reaches your desired softness, refrigerate it to keep it that way. Plumcots will last for a week or more in your refrigerator.
Plums and plumcots often have a white or silvery colored “coating” on them. This natural, waxy, protective coating is produced by the fruit itself. Often, this coating is washed off in the packing process. Some varieties are considered too delicate for the packing line equipment and are packed carefully by hand, bypassing the washing process. Fruit packed in this manner is known as “bloom on” and is desired by many for its “straight from the orchard” appearance. Regardless of the level of bloom on your plum or plumcot, all fruit should be thoroughly rinsed with water before eating. The bloom is all natural and harmless but if you want to remove it completely, simply wipe the fruit with a cloth or paper towel.
Leave them on the counter for a few days until they give a little, I’ve heard of people using them as a salad topper, fruit salads, infusing the flavors into vodka, grilling and canning. Anything you could do with a plum, you can do with a plumcot. Personally? I don’t mess around. I eat them out of one hand with a napkin in the other. They’re delicious.
One of the best tasting plumcots is available right now at Bristol Farms. A “plumogranate” varietal, which may only last about a week, is red fleshed little guy and sweet beyond compare and literally bursts with flavor. We also carry golden treats. Golden treats are a newer variety which is greenish/yellow on the outside and sweet on the inside. We just got in a dapple fire, which is a cousin to the very popular dapple dandy, speckled or mottled coloring but this one has an unusual spec of nectarine bred into it. As the season permits, we will carry up to four different varietals of plumcots. Just for you, our flavor conscious Bristol Farms shopper.
Plumcots are also known as Pluots®
California plant breeder Floyd Zaiger is widely credited with the development of this flavorful fruit he called a pluot (pronounced plew-ott). Mr. Zaiger saw so much potential in this fruit, he decided many years ago to register that name as a trademark. For many years, virtually all pluot trees in commercial production were Zaiger varieties, and most still are. However, other breeders have begun to make their own crosses of plum and apricot varieties and they cannot legally call their trees pluots. Because of this, many in the fruit marketing industry decided to change the name of the fruit to plumcot which we believe is a much more direct description of what this fruit actually is. This name change is voluntary for the most part and will take a few years to become widespread. Just know that whether you find this fruit marked as plumcots or pluots in your local Bristol Farms, it’s the same great-tasting fruit.
Family Tree Farms
Family Tree Farms is a local, family-owned and operated company dedicated to the mission of delivering consistently flavorful fruit. Family Tree is located in Reedley California and consists of David Jackson, the extended Jackson family, a handful of other carefully selected growers, and a team of dedicated employees – all of whom share David’s passion for excellence.
David focused his farming efforts on stone fruit – peaches, nectarines and plums. In the early days of his farming career, he would grow the varieties that his packer or nursery salesman suggested. These were usually large, colorful, beautiful varieties but many were lacking in flavor. He knew that if they tasted like this when they were picked, they surely would not improve by the time the consumer tried to eat them. David believed that if he focused on the flavor of the fruit, he would be rewarded. Because of the delicate nature of the varieties, he quickly realized the need to further control the process by packing and selling his own fruit. About this time, his sons were embarking on their own farming enterprises and the decision was made as a group to form a new company, one that would ensure their vision of quality throughout the entire farming-to-shipping process.