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An aprium is a hybridized fruit which incorporates plum and apricot genetics. The fruits are available from specialty growers, who sometimes also sell to markets and greengrocers. Much like their relatives, apriums can be eaten in an assortment of dishes, or right off the tree. The fruit is extremely sweet, with strong apricot overtones and a hint of plum.
The aprium was developed by Floyd Zaiger of Zaiger Genetics, a firm in Modesto, California. Zaiger Genetics specializes in developing high quality fruit hybrids, including the pluot. The company holds a trademark for the aprium, along with a variety of other fruit hybrids. The fruit is more than a simple cross between plums and apricots. Creating the aprium required several generations of breeding, ultimately yielding a fruit which contains 75% apricot and 25% plum.
In appearance, an aprium resembles an apricot without the fuzz. Like both apricots and plums, the aprium is a stone fruit, and the company has developed numerous varietals. Honey Rich, Tasty Rich, Flavor Ann, and Flavor Delight are all commonly cultivated varieties of aprium, with slightly different flavors and maturation rates. Both commercial and home growers can order young trees from several sources, most of which are located in California.
The trees should be planted on well drained soil in warm areas out of the wind. Fruit trees appreciate being pruned annually, and will bear the best fruit if they are well cared for, either by a gardener or by a pruning professional. Gardeners should also make sure that their aprium trees are well watered and fertilized for the best yield, and they should keep an eye out for disease. Aprium branches can also be grafted onto existing apricot trees, for gardeners with limited space.
The intensely sweet flavor of the aprium can make an excellent addition to pies, salads, and preserves. As with other stone fruits, apriums should be handled with care so that they are not bruised, and a fruit pitter may be a valuable tool for people handling them in high volume. An aprium is a climacteric fruit, meaning that it will continue to ripen after harvest, and it should be kept away from bananas, as they emit ethylene gas which can hasten the ripening process. If apriums are slightly underripe, they can be kept in a paper bag on the counter until they mature, after which they can be held in refrigeration before use.
Apriums sound very tasty. My mom has a red plum tree, but the fruit is not at all sweet. Maybe an aprium made from that kind of plum would be more tart, but still tasty.
Sour as they are, those red plums make a wonderful jam. It's tart too, but the flavor of the plums really comes through in the jam. It's sweet enough that you can enjoy the plum flavor without being overwhelmed by the tartness. I'm not sure what species that plum tree is, but it's been there a long time. I don't think they planted it, either. I think it came up volunteer.
So what's the difference between an aprium and a pluot? Is there really a difference? One tastes more like a plum and one more like an apricot? It's kind of hard to see that there's a real distinction.
I've never seen an aprium in the store, that I know of. I have seen -- and eaten -- pluots, and I thought they were very good.
I love both apricots and plums, so if there is something different about an aprium, I'd be interested in trying one to see how well I like it. I’ll be on the lookout for them. Maybe I’ll run across one in the store.