Mike Buzzelli

Look out, here comes Dr. Frankenfruit!

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The other day, I bit into my first pluot. It is a hybrid fruit, both plum and apricot. Apparently, there are a few species of this strange new fruit (new to me). There are apriums and plumcots. Natural plumcot/apriplums have existed for hundreds of years, but I never heard of them. It was the first time I ever tasted one. It was delicious, by the way.


There are several varieties of pluot: Dapple Dandy, Flavor Grenade and Geo Pride. Dapple Dandy sounds like a gay superhero. Flavor Grenade sounds like his weapon of choice. And Geo Pride sounds like an LGBT superhero group of which Dapple Dandy would be a member.


There are other varieties of pluot that include the Razmataz, Mango Tango and Dinosaur Egg. No, I’m not making any of this up.


I had to wonder, like I do, who the heck is doing this to fruit?! What mad scientist is down in his basement laboratory concocting strange combinations of produce? Who is saying to themselves, “You know, I like apricots and I like plums, but I hate having to eat one of each. I want to be able to have my plum and my apricot at the same time.” I am imagining a scientist who is both lazy and extremely ambitious. Who else would invent such dichotomous harvests?


There are grapples (grape apples), limequats (a lime and a kumquat) and lematoes (lemon tomatoes). Though, I am little bit afraid of the lemato. Who needs a tomato and lemon at the same time? Then, I discovered … wait for it … a nectacotum, which is a hybrid variety of the apricot, plum and nectarine. Dr. Frankenfruit, this time you have gone too far.


I had to read the history of the half-breed fruit. Yes. Cher should sing about it. I’m sure the lemato is very conflicted about not being able to be in a salad or in a glass of iced tea (yuck!).


“More than a century ago, horticulturalist Luther Burbank bred the plumcot with a 50-50 split. However, it was Floyd Zaiger who … bred the plumcot with a plum to create the pluot – three-fifths plum and two-fifths apricot – and coined the trademarked moniker. While the plumcot is a simple plum and apricot cross, pluots … are the result of intricate crossbreeding over several generations.”


The eponymous excerpt is from “The Perfect Fruit: Good Breeding, Bad Seeds and the Hunt for the Elusive Pluot” by Chip Brantley. Yes, there is an entire book about this one hybridized fruit. I feel bad for Brantley’s proofreader. Spell check is hating this column.


My strangest discovery about the hybrid fruit was this: The grapefruit is a hybrid. Though, it is not a hybrid between a grape and an orange. It is a hybrid of two citrus species, the pummelo and the sweet orange (Citrus Maxima and Citrus Sinesis). Who knew?


However, I was disappointed to learn the craisin was not a cross between a cranberry and a raisin, but just a dried cranberry. That’s some false advertising right there, Ocean Spray. Maybe they should just start calling them “dried cranberries” to avoid confusion.


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