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Dinosaur Eggs Here in Oregon — The Pluot®

By Uncle Paul

Living in Oregon is like living in the Stone Age in a lot of ways. We have giant volcanoes, huge fish, ancient trees, and some of the most incredible stone fruits on the earth. Stone fruit is fruit with nuts inside such as the peach, nectarine, or apricot. They are super juicy, dribble-down-your-chin fruit. You may have noticed there's a new fruit in town.

It's not just any old fruit. It's a unique creation. It's a combination of two fruits and one that is plum good! Now we have Dinosaur Eggs, one of the most delightful and relatively new stone fruits.

So what is it? And how do they come up with something like The Dinosaur Egg, also known as the Pluot®. Is it genetically engineered? Over the past few years I have been asked several times about genetically engineered produce. I have seen no genetically engineered fruit or vegetables. A genetically engineered piece of fruit would be like crossing a plum with the genes of a firefly and getting a piece of fruit that glows in the dark.

The Pluot® is a hybrid. Floyd Zaiger, a California fruit breeder and father of the Pluot®, wanted to improve on the plumcot: a 50% apricot/50% plum mixture. He developed the Pluot® with years of hybridization, painstakingly involving elaborate control of the climate and transferring the pollen between the trees with an eyebrow brush. Only a few of his trees produced fruit, but he started to save the seedlings of the ones with the best flavor. Pluots® take the absolute best qualities from the plum and the apricot and keep them. This results in a super sweet delicious piece of fruit. The sugar content of a Pluot® is higher than that of a plum or an apricot. The complex, intense flavor of the Pluot® is also unique. It is a lot like the blending of fruit juices where the mixture is an improvement over any of the separate ingredients. There are now over 25 varieties of Pluots® sold with names like Blue Gusto, Candy Stripe, Flavor Grenade, Flavor King, Last Chance, Red Ray, Hand Grenade, and Dapple Dandy. You can see that the Pluot® varieties are definitely named because of their intense flavor. The Pluot® is an incredible treat on a warm summer day and a perfect walkabout snack. I would take a Pluot® over a plum or apricot any day.

A Pluot®, whose name sounds like a European car, is one of several complex cross hybrids of a plum and apricot (70% plum/30% apricot). A plumcot is another hybrid of 50% plum/50% apricot. Finally, there is the Aprium®, which is not a place in the zoo where apes are kept. An Aprium® is a mix of 70% apricot /30% plum. An Aprium® is sweeter than both its counterparts but looks just like an apricot. The plumcot and Pluot® look like plums, each variety with a different color. Some of the Pluots® look like dinosaur eggs — hence the name. All three of these are incredibly sweet and juicy. My favorite, and what I wait for each year, are the dinosaur egg Pluot®.

Pluots®, plumcots, and Apriums® are all high in carbohydrates, low in fat, and low in calories. They are also a powerhouse of vitamin A, high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, fiber, and free of sodium and cholesterol. Pluots®, like all fruits, are a great source of vitamin C.

Go back in time and step into the future with one of nature's new perfect snacks, the Dinosaur Egg, (or Pluot®), plumcot, or Aprium®. Take along a napkin because they are truly a dribble-down-your-chin juicy sweet incredible piee of fruit.

Uncle Paul first started working with produce at the age of 14. He owns, along with his wife Calla, Uncle Paul’s European Style Open Air Produce Market, 2310 SE Hawthorne, 503-484-8612. His specialty is working with local farmers to bring the freshest, highest quality produce at the lowest prices to his customers.

Right Lib

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