In addition to the apples Utah farmers produce, they also grow a large variety of other fruit. Below is a list of some of the other fruit they grow, along with basic information about each variety.
Apricots have been around for hundreds of years and are believed to have originated in China. They can now be found across the world. This small orange colored fruit is high in antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C and beta-carotene. Apricots are ready to eat when they become a yellow orange or orange color. They should be soft to the touch but still firm. They can range from roughly the size of a golf ball to the size of a tennis ball. This sweet tangy fruit is eaten dried, canned, bottled, and fresh. It makes wonderful syrups and jams and complements other foods easily. Apricots can be crossed with plums to create a Pluot.
Nectarines have been referred to as the “shaved peach” and are very similar to peaches. The primary difference being nectarines are smoothed skinned instead of having a fuzzy skin. Smooth skin on the outside of the fruit is believed to be a genetic mutation, the fuzzy skin of a peach being a dominate trait. Nectarines can have red, yellow or white flesh. They are sometimes slightly smaller than a peach and some say they have a slightly different taste. The flesh of a nectarine is usually slightly firmer due to a thicker smooth skin. Nectarines can be free stone or cling stone.
Peaches are delicious in pies, pastries, fresh, bottled, dried and jammed. Peaches are usually harvested in Utah starting late July through mid September. This fuzzy skinned fruit is a favorite of many. It is second in popularity only to apples. Peaches can be free stone or cling stone. Free stone means the pit will come out with little difficulty. However the pit is embedded in the peach and difficult to remove on clingstone peaches. These tasty fruits are ripe and ready to eat when it gives slightly under pressure.
Over 3000 known pear varieties are grown around the world, but only a few varieties are grown in Utah for fruit production. The most popular and well known variety is the yellow Bartlett pear. These are great for canning, and eating fresh. Ripe pears can be red, green or yellow in color. In Utah, pears are usually harvested in August and September. Pears can be picked when fully mature, when the fruit is at a firm state. This prevents them getting a “gritty” taste resulting from natural tree deposits of cellulose and lignin. Pears taste best when allowed to ripen in a well ventilated area at room temperature.
Plums are more diverse in size, color, and flavor, than peaches, nectarines, or apricots. Plums can be yellow, red, purple or almost black in color. They can be quite small or as large, and can be very sweet or extremely tart. Mature plums will have a dusty light coating that can be easily rubbed off. This should indicate the plum is ready to harvest. The plum should be firm, but not rock hard. It should be soft if pressure is applied. Plums are eaten fresh, frozen, canned, and in jellies and jams. A dried plum is referred to as a prune. A Pluot is a hybrid combination of a plum and apricot.
Sweet cherries are larger than tart cherries,and have color ranging from golden red-bluish to dark red and even purplish-black. Some popular varieties of sweet cherries include Bing, Lambert, Royal Ann, and Tartarian. Delicious right off the tree or in cooking, sweet cherries are also used to make Marishino cherries, which is the cherry placed on top of ice cream.
Utah is known for its Tart Cherry Production. Tart cherries are smaller in size than a sweet cherry and lighter in color when ripe. They are machine picked and then most are frozen, canned, dried or concentrated. Few are eaten fresh. Tart Cherries are commonly referred to as Pie Cherries. Montmorency Tart Cherries are the most common variety grown in Utah.