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Pluots add sweet-tart crunch to salad

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)

Recipe: Dish combines fresh fruit with dried cranberries, walnuts

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 pluot or aprium will work.
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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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 26:

Sacramento can expect another inch of rain from this latest storm. Leave the sprinklers off at least another week. Temps will dip down into the low 30s early in the week, so avoid planting tender seedlings (such as tomatoes). Concentrate on these tasks before or after this week’s rain:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Knock off aphids with a strong blast of water or some bug soap as soon as they appear.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to help corral blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees, which are now in bloom and setting fruit.

To prevent sunburn and borer problems on young trees, paint the exposed portion of the trunk with diluted white latex (water-based) interior paint. Dilute the paint with an equal amount of cold water before application.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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