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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

Ingredients:

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.
Instructions:
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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RECIPE

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

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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