Recently I was in a Hannaford's grocery store in Rutland, Vermont, and came upon a couple more fruit hybrids. (For more about hybrids in general, see the March 30, 2013 post.) I of course snatched them right up. The two I found were the pluot and the peacherine.
I'll back up now and delve a little into these fruits' backgrounds. The former's is well known. Fruit geneticist Floyd Zeiger developed the pluot in the late 20th century (I couldn't find an exact date) at his farm in Modesto, California. Zeiger is apparently a big name in fruit breeding. In fact, he's known in some circles as "The most prolific stone fruit breeder in the modern era," which I must admit would look cool on a business card, or a tombstone. He has over 280 fruit patents of hybrids, including the pluot (whose most famous versions are the Flavor Supreme and the Daddy Dandy), the aprium, the white peach, and the "subacid" peach. He's old school, in that each hybrid is hand pollinated. Evidently it's tiring work, as he estimates only 1 out of every 10,000 attempts become a viable, tasty hybrid. Pluots are hybrids of a hybrid. A plumcot (aka apriplum) is a 50/50 cross between a plum and an apricot. Pluots, on the other hand, are 25% apricot, 75% plum. The reverse, an aprium, is 25% plum, 75% apricot.
The ancestry of the peacherine isn't as well documented. I saw a reference to a J.W. Phillippi of Acampo, California being given credit in a 1909 publication, but apparently that's not undisputed. The peacherine is a 50/50 cross between a peach and a nectarine (and not a tangerine, as is sometimes thought). And I guess "necteach" didn't sound appetizing, as I haven't seen an alternate name in this vein. I saw over 10 variants listed, but alas, the one I bought didn't have its name included.
But on to the fruits themselves. The peacherine looks like an orange/yellow/red peach from the outside. The interior was yellowish and it had the characteristic stone in the center, as both of its parents do. And the taste was....underwhelming. Not bad, but so mild as to be kind of boring. I don't think I'll have this one again. It was kind of the light beer of fruits.
The pluot (mine was called a "sweet pluot") had a greenish red rind, with a pinkish-red interior. As advertised, it had a mostly sweet flavor, with a little tartness to it. You could tell it was more plum than apricot, as that fruit's taste dominated. But it was a winning combination. I think I like it better than a plain plum or apricot. Good--I would buy this again.
Finally, I have to say I was sort of disappointed that the cashier didn't react at all when I told her the names of the hybrids I was buying. I've come to rather enjoy the surprised looks or even disbelieving comments when I buy some of the exotics for a blog post.