Thursday, August 13, 2015

PLUOTS--The Most Beautiful of Stone Fruits

My Pluot Tree in full bloom this spring.

I should have realized this spring that my Pluot tree was going to offer me a spectacular crop when I saw the way the tree bloomed. Every branch was covered in pretty white flowers. What a display. About two months later, I suddenly saw fruit sprout all over its many branches. I had worried that by not pruning there tree this season that I had allowed it to get too large. But the Pluot just spread it's shapely branches and produced a prodigious amount of fruit. What was odder still, was the pear tree next to it simply gave no fruit whatsoever. In the four years since the trees were planted, the pear had always given me a modest crop, while the Pluot didn't give much fruit at all. So I waited patiently and was rewarded. 

The Pluot Tree in late July heavy with lots of fruit. 

So I'm finished picking all those lovely pluots from my tree in the back yard. I decided to make jam. Had to something with all that gorgeous fruit and after giving a bag to Sara and another bag to my brother Scott and his lovely Bernadette, the time came to make jam. I used a recipe from THE ESSENTIAL NEW YORK TIMES COOKBOOK by Amanda Hesser. She asked for two and three quarter pounds of fruit and a half a cup to be brought to the boil and then simmered until the fruit was soft. Then I ran it through a food mill. The yield was to be something like two and three quarters cup of pulp and juice. I got five and a half cups, which meant it would require more sugar than the one cup called for. I added another two thirds cup of sugar, and simmered it for about 45 minutes. A sample when placed on a freezing cold plate finally gelled. The jam was ready for the jars and a final 10-minute water bath. 

As gorgeous a color as these pluots are, the photo doesn't begin to capture the stunning combination of dark wine red skins with a touch of yellow representing the fruits combination of plums and apricots. This bucket of plots was the last of the fruit picked from the tree today. 

The first batch of Pluot Jam for 2015

The color of the jam is ruby red and gorgeous. I have five jars. Now I have to turn the rest of the harvest into more jam. By the time I'm through, I should have 30 jars! Better go get some more sugar. Some lucky people are going to have an interesting stocking stuffer this year.

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