Sometimes trying to add variety and interest to wholesome food leads to new food discoveries. The government Website, fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov, encourages families to try a vast variety of fruits and vegetables, and provides information about the food as well as recipes that taste great.
The fruit of the month for June is actually two fruits; pluots and apriums.
Both of these hybrid fruits, grown in California, combine the plum plant with the apricot. Pluots contain “more” plum, and apriums “more” apricot. The sweetness of both exceeds that of either parent plant and the complex flavors make these great snacks or wonderful additions to recipes.
Buy firm, plump fruit and, if needed, ripen at room temperature. When ripe, the fruit stores well in the refrigerator. To make jam from pluots or apriums, find the correct fruit on the instruction sheet in the pectin box and follow the instructions carefully.
Never double a recipe for jam. The instructions have been tested with one batch, and failure to process correctly can lead to food poisoning. Be sure to wash the outside of the fruit well with cold, running water before eating or canning.
To incorporate pluots into the family menu, try this recipe from the CDC, and find out how versatile fruit can be.
Confetti plum (pluot)-pasta salad
Makes six servings
Each serving equals 1/2 cup of fruit or vegetables
Source: Fruits and Veggies — More Matters Better Health Cookbook
8 ounces corkscrew pasta
½ medium red bell pepper, cut into strips
¾ cup peeled and diced jicama
½ cup chopped red onion
8 pluots, sliced
2 tablespoons diced pimento
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons rice or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain. Rinse briefly under cold water and drain. In a large bowl, toss together the pasta, red and yellow bell peppers, jicama, onion and pluots. In a small bowl, whisk together all the basil, pimento, ginger, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper until blended. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss evenly until coated.
Questions about safe home food preservation? Call the Master Food Preservers and leave a message at 530-621-5506. A Master Food Preserver will return the call.
The Master Food Preservers are also available free of charge to speak to organizations and clubs about food safety or food preservation topics. Just call the number above to arrange for a speaker for small or large groups.
For more information about the public education classes and activities, including the free public classes on food safety and pressure canning, be sure to go to the Master Food Preserver Website at ceeldorado.ucdavis.edu/Master_Food_Preservers/.