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Lick the produce: Mutant spawn edition

Once a month I wheel my grocery cart into the produce section and fill it with items that I’ve never stuck in my mouth before. This month’s entry is dedicated solely to the unholy love children of the produce section, those mutant spawn that were never meant to be – hybrids!

Pluot

Plum + Apricot = Pluot

Back in August I was passing the peaches when I saw a speckled, plum-like fruit. I examined the sticky label and discovered my Kroger had started stocking Dinosaur Eggs. Wow, I thought dinosaurs were extinct! These must be worth millions! Yet, my local supermarket was selling the extinct eggs for less than 6 figures per pound, though they didn’t specify what breed they were. Triceratops? Tyrannasaurus Rex? Upon further research, I learned the Dinosaur Egg is one of at least 13 varieties of the pluot, a cross between a plum and an apricot. Don’t confuse them with the aprium or the plumcot. While I loved the creative marketing, the pluot tasted like a plum to me, just with a cuter name.

Broccoflower

Broccoli + Cauliflower = Broccoflower

After I’d tried orange cauliflower and purple cauliflower, I was comforted by the fact that their demon cousin Broccoflower® was a color more frequently occurring in nature. This combination creature of broccoli and cauliflower is also a good source of Vitamin C and folate, if the package is to be believed. The word “Broccoflower®” is a trademark of Tanimura & Antle. So it’s like the words Kleenex or Xerox or if you want to keep talking food, it’s like Derby Pie, a chocolate, walnut, bourbon pie trademarked by Kern’s Kitchen of Kentucky and named for the Kentucky Derby. You’ll never find a recipe for Derby Pie in a cookbook because of the copyright issues. Instead people rename their Derby Pie recipes something like Pegasus Pie or May Day Pie even though everyone knows it’s a Derby Pie. Just like everyone at the office knows you’re having a Christmas Party even if you call it a Holiday Celebration.

But, I wasn’t eating Derby Pie (sadly enough), I was eating Broccoflower®. And it tasted like cauliflower. It was a let down, really. Mad food scientists are going to all this trouble to combine fruits and vegetables and the results end up tasting no different than their parents.

Ugli Fruit

Grapefruit + Tangerine = Ugli Fruit

That is an ugli fruit. I’ll give you three guesses as to why it’s called that. Green, wrinkly people are automatically disqualified. The ugli fruit is from Jamaica and is also called the Uniq fruit. It’s a cross between a grapefruit and a tangerine. Mine was a bit larger than a grapefruit, though the label suggested I split it in half like one. When I got it open, I realized it was much easier to just peel it apart like an orange. It also tasted like an orange, just more bitter and tart. It was like an orange dressed up in a frumpy, green suit. If someone had served the pulp to me on a plate, I would have never guessed it was an ugli fruit. The picture on Wikipedia is yellow though, so perhaps mine wasn’t ripe enough.

All in all, the hybrid fruits didn’t seem worth the extra cost I paid for them. They were novelty items that were more fun to buy and look forward to eating than to actually eat. If you’re going to get a hybrid, you should probably stick to a car.

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24 Comments

Kay • January 9, 2008 at 8:04 am

Hmm.. something strange about that Ugli. Here in New Zealand we have an Ungli tree and they are one of my favourite fruits. When ripe they are bright orange and very sweet..a green one would be inedible.

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eva • January 9, 2008 at 8:30 am

Have you ever tried a Grapple? It’s not a hybrid. But they make the apple taste like candy grape flavor without changing the nutritional info. They’re good, but more like candy than fruit!

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Braksgirl • January 9, 2008 at 9:02 am

I didn’t find that the Grapple tasted like grapes so much as it smelled like grapes. Which sucks because I like grapes more than apples.

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Heather • January 9, 2008 at 9:07 am

I am so glad I found your blog via Dietgirl! You are HI-larious. And a midwesterner, too!

I grew up near Chicago. Anyway, I loved the Ugli fruit. Seemed a bit wasteful to have all that padding around it. It must fall far from its tree or something. As far as grapples (see above) go, they pretty much made me want to wretch. Seemed like an unnatural and horrible trick, considering I thought I was eating a regular apple. “Something is not quite right about this apple. It tastes like…grapes,” I complained. My husband replied, “Oh, it must be one of those grape apples.” Pure evil.

But, to each his own.

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Curvyjones • January 9, 2008 at 9:19 am

Uhm. Broccoflower? No.

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Mia • January 9, 2008 at 9:20 am

I’ve never seen (or heard of) any of those guys. I kinda feel sorry for the Ugli fruit, though. I might have to give him a try! :)

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Annie • January 9, 2008 at 9:36 am

Hysterical post! It is great to start off the day with a good laugh…and I learned something. Didn’t know some of these existed.

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Dinah Soar • January 9, 2008 at 10:03 am

A LITERAL LICK IN THE PRODUCE SECTION

The title of your post reminded me of a recent visit to Krogers. Watched a little boy about 4 years old pick up a big red bell pepper, his eyes grew large, and he said “yum” as he gave it a big long lick. The lick was followed by shock and a resounding “yuck”. (I assume he figured it would taste like cherry candy since it was red) He put the pepper back–his mom didn’t notice his taste test. The moral: be sure to wash your produce well—you never know who has been licking it. :-p

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psychsarah • January 9, 2008 at 11:36 am

Dinah-ewwwwww!! This reminds me of a story of a Chinese buffet I was at once. My husband saw a kid take the big serving spoon out of the pudding and eat some right off the spoon and then put it back. That put me off buffets for a good long time!

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Fatty • January 9, 2008 at 11:51 am

I did like the grapple – it was like a concord grape… but I agree about pricing, really not worth a long term introduction into the diet. More of a fun thing to try.

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Comrade GoGo • January 9, 2008 at 1:39 pm

Hmm. Maybe the freaky mutant hybrid produce is so expensive because it gives you super-mutant powers! Like the power to turn other people green and wrinkly with a single glance.

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Happy • January 9, 2008 at 1:51 pm

Damn. I’m disqualified from the ugli fruit guessing contest.

This is funny stuff, AND good information. When you find … if you find … tasty new fruits/vegetables, please do share that info, too.

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chanda • January 9, 2008 at 3:07 pm

You are a braver soul than I am! I was with you until the frankenstien’s monster broccoflower. I don’t care what color it is, cauliflower smells and tastes suspiciously like feet:) As always, I enjoy reading your blog, and find daily inspiration and strength. You rock!

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Melanie • January 9, 2008 at 5:48 pm

Did you say Derby Pie? Now you’re stompin’ in my backyard. Here in Kentucky, Derby Pie is almost a religious experience. Don’t tell anybody, but I really don’t like it much myself. I’m more of a coconut cream pie gal. Shhh :)

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Stephanie Quilao • January 9, 2008 at 6:37 pm

Wow! That was really educational. I have never even heard of the Brocoflower or Ugli Fruit. I’m waiting for the fruit + Spam hybrid. Now that’s something to chat about.

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Marshmallow • January 9, 2008 at 8:13 pm

Ooooooooooooooo my scientific nerves are trembleaicious at this hybrid goodness. What else can they come up with? Rasporooms? Boysenmatos? Avomango? The possibilities!

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airlie • January 10, 2008 at 5:28 am

i will have to pay more attention to these things and see what hybrids there are down here in oz?

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P.O.M. • January 10, 2008 at 6:35 pm

Wow thanks for the info. I saw the last two at my market but just wriggled up my nose and kept walking. I’ll definately try the broccoflower!

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K • January 10, 2008 at 7:04 pm

Ah, but nectarines are hybrids, too (peach and plum) and clearly that was a mutant made in heaven. Mmmm, nectarines. Why isn’t it summer?

I have never encountered Derby Pie, but it certainly sounds good…

PQ – Oh! I had no idea nectarines were hybrids! The name isn’t a portmanteau, so I figured it was a naturally occurring fruit. If it was called a pleach or a peaum I might have caught on.

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Kat • January 10, 2008 at 8:45 pm

I love pluots – which, incidentally, also have a trademarked name. (I like to imagine the mad-scientist creators forcing growers to scribble little (R)s on the fruit as they ripen…)

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Dianh soar • January 11, 2008 at 2:15 am

psychsarah—your kid licking the pudding spoon at the buffet incident reminded me of the kid I saw in a restaurant who unscrewed the bottle of catsup and sucked a bunch of it out—when his mother caught him she scolded him, put the lid back on the bottle and set it back on the table! That put me off communal condiments for good. I generally eat only indiviually prepared sealed versions. Now I’m going to have to rethink buffets…ewwww is right.

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Zandria • January 11, 2008 at 10:05 pm

I think that fruit looks delicious…and I’ve never tried any of it! I want some! :)

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chidame • January 12, 2008 at 10:04 pm

How about this one next? I desperately want one:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Fractal_Broccoli.jpg

PQ – That is way cool.

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cedar • January 21, 2008 at 5:01 am

hmm. i have to say i’ve never tried any of the hybrid fruit you’ve mentioned.

how about non-hybrid fruit for the next challenge? go to an asian supermarket and pick up pomelo, jack fruit and the like.

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog JenFul.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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