Plums: Best When Fresh
Plums taste their best when they are fresh from the tree, plus the skin of the plum contains the most fiber. Therefore, peeling a plum removes a lot of its fiber; however, you still have nutrients with the juicy pulp.
Plums come to us in two broad categories: Japanese and European plums (prunes). The Japanese plum is eaten fresh, canned, and put into jams and jellies. European plums are often called prunes because they can be dried without their pits being removed. This is the way most of us are familiar with plums.
Japanese plums come in 12 varieties. The red beauty and black beauty are the two earliest varieties. Red beauty plums have redish-purple skins and are slightly soft to the touch. They have a nice and juicy, sweet taste inside with a slightly tart skin. Black beauty plums are similiar but their skin is a darker, more purple hue.
In addition to the red and the black beauty plums, Japanese varieties include the Santa Rosa, Queen Rosa, Cassleman, Black Amber, Angelino, Simka, Laroda, El Dorado, Friar and Kelsey.
Italian Prune Plums
These are the most commonly known plums in America. They are grown in Washington. As this plums ripens, the color turns from a reddish-blue hue to a purple blue with a powder white bloom. This bloom is an indication that the fruit is fully ripe. This hardy plum is great for cooking and preserving.
The European plums come in three varieties: Stanleys, Blufre (or Blue Free) and Damsons. Damsons are great for use in preserves.
The plumcot is a delicious hybrid that is a cross between a plum and an apricot. It has a burgundy colored skin with red pulp.
The plumcot is sweeter than the apricot. The sugar to acid balance is almost perfect in the plumcot.
Purchasing, Cleaning and Peeling Plums
When purchasing your plums, choose plump plums that are not excessively soft. Select plums that yield to gentle pressure.
Wash plums thoroughly in cool water before eating. Plums taste best when eaten at room temperature. Plums make good pies and puddings, stewed fruit, preserves, jellies and jams.
To peel plums, dip in boiling water for 30 seconds, then lift out with a slotted spoon and cool in cold water. Slip off skins.
Plums can be ripened by placing them in a paper bag, closing it loosely, and leaving it on the counter for a few days. Once the fruit is ripe, it should be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Dried Plums Making a Comeback
A few years ago, the California Dried Plum Board made a splash by deciding to change their product's name from prunes to dried plum's and sales rose! Whatever the reason for the increase, it is certainly good news. The high fiber in dried plums can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, decreasing the risk of heart disease, while the fruit's antioxidants may help prevent certain types of cancer and age-related diseases. In addition, preliminary research found that dried plums have anti-microbial properties, when added to meats, dried plums can suppress the growth of E. coli and salmonella.
For a stress-fighting snack, stuff almonds into pitted dried plums. And you can eat ten sweet, chewy dried plums filled with nutrition for only 200 calories.
Cooking tip: Cook with sugar (1 pound of fruit per 2 cups sugar) on the stove until thickened for a delicious jam.
- Low in calories (46 calories per 100g)
- Low fat
- Saturated fat-free
- High in vitamin C
Summer Plum Tart Recipe Card
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