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PLUOTS — Part plum and part apricot, Pluots have a truly mixed heritage! These fruits were originally “invented” in the late 20th century by Floyd Zaiger. Pluots have a majority of plum parentage and therefore, have smooth skin like plums, with colors ranging from a dark red to dappled green to orange. Their flesh colors range from deep purple to bright yellow, depending on the breeds of plums and apricots in the pluot’s parentage. California pluots are harvested from mid-June through September.

Similar to a plum, a pluot’s skin is slightly tart, and the flesh is sweet and juicy. Pluots are best eaten out of hand. They pair well with mild, fresh cheese such as chevre or ricotta. Pluots also make a superb topping for cakes or ice cream, and can be used in place of plums in jams and compotes.

Ripening & Storage: If your pluots arrive firm, place them on the counter top away from direct sunlight, and check them daily. They are ripe when they yield slightly to the touch. Handle gently as they bruise easily. Refrigerate only after ripe. Store in a plastic bag to avoid dehydration. To remove the pit, cut the fruit in half and scoop it out. May be eaten fresh or cooked.

Fresh Pluots with Ginger Sauce Served Over Cake  Desired amount of fresh Pluot slices for each serving.  1 bakery-made Angel Food or Sponge Cake, Whipped Cream, optional,  Ginger Syrup (Makes 1 serving, 1/4 cup), 1 c. granulated sugar, 1 c. water, 2 inches ginger root, rough chopped In a small pan, bring sugar, water and ginger to a slow simmer over moderate heat, allowing the ginger to cook into the syrup. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Allow to steep for 15 minutes, then strain the ginger out. Refrigerate to cool. (Keeps refrigerated up to 4 weeks.) Combine fresh pluot slices with 3 tablespoons of ginger sauce for each cup of fruit. Spoon over cake and top with whipped cream.

PEARL WHITE NECTARINES — White nectarines tend to have paler skin than their yellow cousins, but have the same blush, softness and overall look as a yellow nectarine. The real difference is that the Pearl Whites have either a white or champagne-colored flesh instead of the standard yellow shade. White nectarines were not commercially cultivated in substantial numbers until the 1980’s, when modern breeding made them a bit more resilient and gave them a longer growing season.

White nectarines have a soft nectarine flavor, but are much more floral tasting than the yellow varieties. This translates to a delicacy in their flavor that is notable when you eat the nectarines on their own, as well as in cobblers or pies.

Ripening and Storage: Firm nectarines can be kept at room temperature for 3 or 4 days. Once ripe, refrigerate in a plastic bag for no more than a day or two. Allow to come to room temperature before eating.

White Nectarine Galette – DOUGH INGREDIENTS/INSTRUCTIONS: 1 c. flour, 1/4 c. ice water, 1 T. plain yogurt, 3-1/2 T. cold, unsalted butter, cubed, 1 T. sugar, Pinch of salt.

Mix dry ingredients together. Mix yogurt and ice water in a separate bowl, and keep refrigerated. Incorporate the butter into the flour using a fork, your hands or a food processor. Add the cold water/yogurt mix a tablespoon at a time to help the dough come together. Keep adding it until the dough sticks to itself. It should not be sticky – add a little flour if needed. Chill at least 2 hours, or overnight.

FILLING INGREDIENTS/INSTRUCTIONS: 2-3 ripe white nectarines, sliced into 1/4″ wedges, 1 T. sugar, 1/4 T. cinnamon. Mix all together. Preheat oven to 400°. Roll dough to 1′ circle that is 1/8″ thick. Add filling. Bake for 25 minutes.

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Tracie Burket
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