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Pretty pluots team with spinach and pecans in summer salad

Recipe: Pluot-spinach salad with fig balsamic vinaigrette

Pluot salad
Fig balsamic vinaigrette ties together all the elements of this cool salad. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

Pluots, a cross between plums and apricots, offer the sweet juicy flavor of their parents. But unlike most plums and apricots, pluots tend to stay crisp longer instead of turning mushy soft.

That makes them ideal for salads. My favorite salad pluot is Emerald Drop. This variety has attractive bright green skin and, when ripe, honey gold flesh. When juicy ripe, it still retains its crunch. That adds texture as well as flavor and color to cool summer salads.

Slices of Emerald Drop pluots look particularly attractive tossed with fresh spinach. Raisins and pecans add more texture (and just a little more sweetness). The fig balsamic vinaigrette pulls it all together.
Other pluot varieties will work, too, as will firm apricots or plums or a combination of both. After all, isn’t that when plouts are – a combination of both?

Pluot-spinach salad

Makes 2 large or 4 side servings


2 large firm pluots

¼ cup raisins

2 green pluots
These are Emerald Drop pluots, but other varieties or apricots
or plums will work in the salad.

¼ cup pecans, chopped

3 cups spinach

For dressing:

1 tablespoon fig balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons white wine

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Wash and pit pluots. Cut fruit into thin slices. Put in a large mixing bowl.

Add raisins and pecans to the bowl.

Prepare dressing. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, white wine, sugar, salt and pepper. Shake to combine.

Drizzle dressing over fruit and nut mixture in bowl. Toss gently to coat fruit.

Wash spinach and pat dry. Add to fruit and nut mixture. Toss gently to combine.

Serve immediately.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

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

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

* 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 fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

* 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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