Have you seen these Black Velvet Apricots at your local market or grocery store? It seems like they're popping up everywhere this summer. We had never seen them before, so when we first noticed them at a market in Vancouver, BC, we thought, Oh, look at the interesting Canadian hybrid fruit. Well! We came back to the Midwest and lo and behold, Black Velvet apricots were at the fruit stand, farmers market, and grocery store. It felt like they instantly materialized out of nowhere.
So, what's the deal with these, and are they worth a try?
First of all: a little background on these fruits. They are a cross, as you might expect, between apricots and plums. They're about the size of a plum, and they look just like a dusky, slightly fuzzy plum. But you bite into it and there is the bright yellow flesh of an apricot. This cross between the two fruits was created by Kingsburg Orchards in California, and they now "own" this particular strain. (Yes, fruit and plant breeds can be proprietary.)
The cross is different from pluots and apriums in that it has 50% plum and 50% apricot. This is supposed to "mellow" the skin of the plum, which is often quite tangy and even spicy, so that it is softer and more yielding like an apricot's.
So, how does it taste? We actually really liked it. The fruit is beautiful, of course, but it was also extremely sweet and juicy. It had a slight tang that reminded us of apricots, but its texture and flavor were closer to a plum.
We still find it very interesting to see how marketing can really influence the world of fruit and vegetables as well as packaged goods. Kingsburg Orchards must have a very good marketing and distribution system; it seems like these little fruits popped up everywhere at once. But they are certainly delicious, and so beautiful with the contrast between golden yellow inside and dark, soft skin.
What do you think? Have you tried a Black Velvet apricot? (Oh yeah, Kingsburg did well on the naming, too; what would you rather have? An aprium? A pluot? Or a Black Velvet apricot? Sexy!!)
(Images: Faith Durand)