Plums & Pluots
Plums and pluots are stone fruits with smooth skin and small pits. Plums are native to Asia, Europe, and America, and most U.S. production uses Japanese varieties, which range in color from yellow, red, and blue to almost black. European varieties are blue and purple.
Pluots are a combination of apricot and plum, one of many ‘interspecific’ hybrids called plumcots, apriums, and apriplums. The pluot name is trademarked, so growers cannot legally call their fruit pluots.
While pluots and plumcots have occurred naturally in regions where apricots and plums grow freely, modern versions have been cross-pollinated for maximum flavor and shelf life. Today’s pluots are usually one quarter apricot and three-quarters plum, with smooth skin in various colors and flavors.
Plums and pluots are related to cherries and members of the rose family. Prunes are dried plums, typically the European type.
Types & Varieties
European, Damson, and Japanese are the most common types of plums: European plums are often used for canning, but are eaten fresh as well.
Damson are very tart and primarily for cooking and preserves; Japanese are the most common fresh market plums.
Pluots have smooth skin, can be solid or speckled and yellowish green to black. Pluot flesh is white to red and fruit is usually larger than plums and higher in sugar content.
With a short supply window for most apricot-plum hybrids, varieties have increased to maintain availability. Pluot varieties include Cherry, Crimson Sweet, Dapple Dandy, Geo Pride, Flavor Heart, Golden Treat, Jubilee, Red Ray, Raspberry Jewel, Sugar Baby, and Supernova.