Category Archives: The Produce Department

Pluots

Two spring flavor pluots.

Pluots are a hybrid fruit combining plums and apricots. They’re often referred to as plumcots and there is great confusion about the differences between the two, even to me. I found an interesting article on Slate Magazine that talks about this confusion and helps clear it up; I’ll add a link at the end.

I’ve had plums before but I only remember eating them as a kid and I’m fairly certain I’ve never had fresh apricots. This was my first time tasting a pluot. I bought a few and they look just like a plum, although there are many varieties. The ones I bought were grown and sold by Kingsburg Orchards (who are located in Kingsburg, California) and are of the Spring Flavor variety.

One of the pluots I'd bitten into.

I washed them off and began eating them; at first I cut a few slices off but then I decided to just bite into them. The first thing I noticed was the sweet scent they emit. The flesh was whitish/yellow and very juicy. They didn’t taste very sweet; in fact they tasted tart and maybe a little bitter. I’m not much for unsweetened food so I didn’t like them that much; I also found the texture unappealing. Like I said, they were juicy but the meat almost fell apart, I’d say it was kind of soggy. I’d be willing to try different varieties of pluots but after this initial experience, I can’t say I’m a fan.

Kingsburg Orchards website
Slate Magazine article

Advertisements

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

A close up shot of the finished product.

After making blueberry pancakes I still had a lot of blueberries left so I wanted to make something that would use as much as possible. I was browsing the internet for something I thought sounded good and I came across Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars on foodnetwork.com. I happen to really dig cheesecake and this recipe turned out to need a lot of blueberries.

I first had to take a trip to my local grocery store and purchase the ingredients as I had almost nothing that was required. Once I was home I began making the crust. I needed to smash up nine graham crackers, add sugar and cinnamon, then add half a stick of melted butter, mix it all up and break it down well. Having broken the crust down well, it needed to cook for twelve minute. With that in the oven I began making the filling.

In a large bowl I dropped in the cream cheese, eggs, and sugar and then proceeded to zest and juice two lemons. After mixing the filling well, which was conveniently around the time the crust was done, I dropped it into the cooled down crust. I then added 1½ cups of blueberries, making sure to spread them out better than I did with my blueberry pancakes. That needed to go into the oven for thirty-five minutes and cool for a couple hours before eating.

Once we started eating it, it went fast. I think I was a little overzealous zesting and juicing the lemons as the lemon taste nearly overpowered the blueberries, but I like lemons so I’m fine with that. If you don’t want the lemons overpowering the recipe, I’d recommend using two small lemons or zest and juice one large lemon. All in all it probably cost $40 to buy everything but the majority of the ingredients required a fraction of what was there.

The recipe

Blueberry Pancakes

Recently an idea popped into my head. I work in the produce department of a grocery store; I ought to eat produce often, not just for my health but to be able to answer questions like “how is this.” Currently I don’t eat totally healthy although I don’t eat terribly either. My plan is to buy something from produce and eat it straight or make something with it. The first item… blueberries!

A nearly empty case of Naturipe blueberries.

The blueberries were on sale: an 18oz container for $2.99, normally $5.99. They are super fresh as I purchased them on the day they were delivered; surely a benefit of buying fresh produce is knowing the delivery schedule. Naturipe is the brand and they are grown the US, specifically where, I’m not sure. The case says they are sold out of Naples, FL and checking Naturipe’s website showed me the location of their farms in Florida.

The blueberries are plump and juicy. Biting into one reveals the pale green flesh and a somewhat tart taste. My first thought was to make blueberry pancakes. I bought a case of Hungry Jack pancake mix for a couple of dollars and on the side of the box there is a recipe for blueberry pancakes which I decide to use. I made the batter, dropped in some blueberries and then off to the griddle I was.

Once completed, I got myself a plate, slapped some butter in between the pancakes and dug in. The initial pancakes only had a few blueberries in them whereas the last couple had upwards of eight. Next time I try blueberry pancakes, I’ll have to portion out the berries better. They added tartness to the pancakes and juiciness when bitten into. Personally I’d prefer to not have the whole blueberries and rather smash them together and make a glaze. The pancakes were very simple to make; all I had to do was make the batter and plop the blueberries in. All told, I spent about seven dollars: three for the blueberries, three for the batter and two for the syrup.