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Pluots, anyone?

August 19, 2008 - Jane Mort
     At this time of the year it’s not unusual to spot odd fruits and/or vegetables at the local grocery store, and last week was no exception for me.
     I happened across some pluots and champagne grapes and bought them for two reasons: I thought the name “pluot” was funny, and I thought the champagne grapes were cute.
     I wasn’t crazy about the flavor of either of the fruits. The pluots were too tart (even though they are known for their sweetness; mine must not have been ripe enough). The champagne grapes were way too sweet. But I learned a little about the fruits along the way.
     The hysterically named pluot (say it really fast five times) is actually a cross between a plum and an apricot and is not to be confused with a plumcot, which also is a cross between a plum an apricot.
     What’s the difference? The pluot is three-quarters plum and one-quarter apricot, while the plumcot is one-half plum and one-half apricot.
     The pluot and the plumcot are not to be confused with the aprium, which is one-quarter plum and three-quarters apricot.
     Then there’s the aprium, the nectaplum, the nectarot and the peacotum. You can guess what they’re made of.
     We have some zany fruits scientists like Luther Burbank and Floyd Zaiger to thank for this.
     Champagne grapes are an entirely different thing.
     No, they are not used to make champagne.
     They got their name for other reasons: Some say it’s because they are tiny and resemble champagne bubbles; others say it’s because they often are used on gourmet tables as decoration and they drape beautifully from champagne flutes or wine glasses.
     Champagne grapes are extremely small — about one-fourth of an inch in diameter. The average size of one bunch is the length and width of a hand.
     Champagne grapes also are known as Black Corinth grapes, named for the Greek city where they have been grown for more than 2,000 years.
     The super sweet grapes can be eaten out of hand, or used in recipes as you would  currants.
     I can’t wait to see what the wacky world of fruits and vegetables comes up with next!



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Champagne grape and a quarter