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Pluots add sweet-tart crunch to salad

Recipe: Dish combines fresh fruit with dried cranberries, walnuts

Pluot salad
Add tangy flavor to a summer salad with wedges of pluots. The fruit is a hybrid
of apricots and plums. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

Pluots can puzzle people. Sure, they're sweet-tart and crunchy, wonderful eaten fresh out of hand.

But what can you do with them?

Thanks to hybridizer Dave Wilson Nursery, dozens of pluots and close cousins apriums and plumcots are now available. Known as interspecific plums, these mixed varieties include plums and apricots in their parentage. But how that cross turns out can be amazingly different. That gives each variety unique characteristics.

Pluots range in skin color from pale yellow-green to darkest plum purple, often with contrasting flesh. The inherent blend of apricot and plum makes a wonderful jam as well as tarts and dessert fillings.

That sweet-tart-crunchy combo also is perfect for a fresh summer salad. The variety used for this recipe was Emerald Drop, which has very pretty yellow-green skin with tangy apricot-like flesh. But any pluot or aprium or plumcot would be tasty, too.

Two green pluots
These are Emerald Drop pluots but any variety of pluot
or aprium will do.

Pluot salad
Makes 3 servings


3 pluots, pitted and cut into thin wedges
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 cup cabbage, shredded

For dressing:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon pear balsamic vinegar (or other fruity balsamic)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salad on plate
A refreshing salad, perfect for summer.
In a large bowl, combine pluots, dried cranberries, walnuts, lettuce and cabbage.

Make dressing. In a jar, combine all dressing ingredients. Cover and shake.

Drizzle dressing over salad ingredients and toss gently. Serve.


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A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.


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For week of Dec. 3:

Make the most of gaps between raindrops. This is a busy month!

* Windy conditions brought down a lot of leaves. Make sure to rake them away from storm drains.

* Use those leaves as mulch around frost-tender shrubs and new transplants.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they're dormant.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they'll bloom again next December.

* Plant one last round of spring bulbs including daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, anemones and scillas. Get those tulips out of the refrigerator and into the ground.

* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers such as California poppies.

* Plant such spring bloomers as sweet pea, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.

* Late fall is the best time to plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from fall and winter rains.

* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Bare-root season begins. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Beware of soggy soil. It can rot bare-root plants.

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