Plums are a delicious fruit that is equally tasty as a raw snack or an ingredient in sweet and savory dishes.
Although plums have been around for as long as we have been cooking and eating, they aren’t as popular as some of their relatives, like peaches, and so you might not be familiar with the taste.
In this article, we’ll look at plums, what they taste like, and some of the ways you can enjoy them for yourself.
What Is A Plum?
A plum is a stone fruit, related to peaches, apricots, and dates, that grows on a tree.
Plums are one of the first fruits actively cultivated by human beings for consumption and have spread across the world due to their nutrition and popularity.
Thought to originate in Iran, they spread to Asia before being imported to Britain and making their way to the Americas.
Plums are called “prunes” when they are dried.
Plums are so desirable and delicious that, in English, they have become synonymous with something being good, rich, or abundant. For example, a “plum job” refers to a great work opportunity!
What Do Plums Look Like?
Plums are small, round fruit, containing a hard pit.
Most of the plums you would find at the grocery store have a reddish purple exterior skin and lighter colored flesh inside.
There are many varieties of plum, including yellow, green, and red plums, but the most popular types have purple skin that is waxy and thin, which could be compared to a grape.
What Texture Do Plums Have?
Plums have a firm and juicy flesh that could be described as a cross between a peach and an orange. There is a fibrous quality to plums that peaches don’t have, but they are not nearly as fibrous as citrus fruits, for example.
The texture also depends on the ripeness, with unripened or new plums being much harder and grainier than the ripened and softened plums, which are more juicy and fibrous.
Types Of Plum
There are thousands of types of plum, with more than 140 varieties sold in the US alone.
The vast majority of plums sold commercially are under the umbrella of 2 different types of plums European and Japanese, with the Japanese variety being the more popular.
Here are some popular types of plums
- Black Beauty
- Myrobalan plum
- Elephant Heart Plum
- French Prune
- Greengage plum
Where Do Plums Come From?
Plums are grown around the world, having originated in Iran in ancient times and spread to both tropical and temperate climates.
Japanese plums originated in China and spread to Japan less than 300 years ago. The origin of European plums is unknown, although they probably migrated from Iran and Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean and then Northern Europe.
Today, plums are farmed commercially around the world, including in China, the Middle East, Europe, and North America.
Are Plums Healthy?
Yes! Plums are a very healthy fruit and make a great addition to your diet. They are low in calories while being high in vitamins and antioxidants.
Plums (and prunes) are also very high in fiber. Prune juice is a classic remedy for constipation, but eating more plums is a great way to maintain regularity.
They’re also good for maintaining blood sugar. Although plums are a sweet fruit, eating them doesn’t lead to a corresponding spike in blood glucose, which makes them ideal for diabetic diets.
Plums are a very healthy fruit with several health benefits.
Are There Dangers To Eating Plums?
Not really, as long as you eat them in moderation.
Firstly, you should never eat the pit – it contains cyanide, and is also indigestible and dangerous to swallow. Discard it in the trash whenever you eat a plum.
If you eat a lot of plums, you could cause yourself some gastrointestinal distress or diarrhea. Plums contain plant sugars called polyols that can cause gas and bloating in large amounts.
They also have a lot of fiber, which can lead to diarrhea.
It is safe to eat plums, and you can avoid any chance of gastrointestinal issues or diarrhea by limiting yourself to 4-6 plums per day.
RELATED: List of Fruits that Start with A
How Do You Eat Plums?
The best way to eat a raw plum is to bite right in!
Plums, like peaches, have edible skin, delicious flesh, and an inedible pit in the center that you eat around.
Take bites around the sides of a plum like you would an apple until you have eaten all of the fruit and have just the put left over.
Alternatively, you can cut a plum into slices, the same way you would an apple. This is less messy, especially for very ripe plums that have a lot of juice.
How Can I Store Plums?
If your plums are unripe or still in the process of ripening, you can leave them out on the counter at room temperature for 2-3 days until they are fully ripe. They won’t last much longer than that though, so don’t leave them out too long!
When your plums are ripe, keep them covered in the refrigerator. They will last 3-5 days in the fridge. If you want to keep your plums fresh longer than that, you’ll need to freeze them.
Can You Freeze Plums?
Yes! Unlike some other fruits (including citrus), you can freeze whole plums for up to 6 months, and they should retain most of their flavor and texture.
If you want to keep plums even longer, cut them up and remove the pit – or better yet, cook them in a dish that you want to keep for later. These plums should last for up to a full year in the fridge.
Can You Grow Plums?
Plum trees are fairly resilient, and can grow in many different environments. If you are determined to grow your own plums and you are patient enough, you should be able to do it.
You can start just by drying out the plum pits from some fruit you’ve eaten. These will be your seeds.
Planted plum pits require a period of chilling and stratification in the earth, and up to 6 years of solid growth before they yield fruit, but they are strong and adaptive trees that aren’t that hard to grow.
Plum Nutritional Information
|per 1 plum, according to Healthline.com|
|Vitamin A||5% of the RDI|
|Vitamin C||10% of the RDI|
|Vitamin K||5% of the RDI|
|Potassium||3% of the RDI|
|Copper||2% of the RDI|
|Manganese||2% of the RDI|
Plums Recipes: Quick Table
|Plum Oatmeal Crisp||354||1 hour|
|Sauteed Chicken With Fresh Plum Salsa||157||20 minutes|
|Plum Breakfast Bars||133||1 hour 5 minutes|
This homemade dessert is a great showcase for the flavors of cooked plum, which are intense and delightful when combined with the sweetness of the oatmeal crumble.
If you’re a fan of other cobblers, crisps, and crumbles, you know what the deal is. You might be more used to apples or peaches in the starring role, but using plums changes the game entirely.
The wholesome sweetness of cooked plums is irreplaceable, and one of the absolute best ways to enjoy this fruit.
Total Preparation Time: 1 hour
There are a lot of sweet recipes out there for plums, but this fruit has a special place in savory cuisine as well.
Plum sauce is a beloved ingredient in Chinese cooking, and this plum salsa brings the flavor of plums to the dinner table as the perfect seasoning for sauteed chicken.
I love salsa in general and fruit salsa in particular, but this fresh plum version is exceptional.
There is a sweetness to it that becomes savory in combination with the other flavors and the chicken, for a meal that you will want to make again and again.
Total Preparation Time: 20 minutes
This recipe is both delicious and convenient, bringing the nutrition and flavor of plums into your everyday routine with a snack that you can make in advance and eat on the go.
These breakfast bars have enough nutrition and calories to keep you going through the most intensive daily routines. They are easy to prepare and take with you in advance, and they taste great.
The addition of a dash of Chinese Five Spice to the plums is an unexpected and essential part of this recipe.
Although these breakfast bars are intended to be practical, these also hold up to scrutiny as a dessert. You’ll get raving reviews if you serve these after dinner with coffee, especially to a health-conscious crowd.
Total Preparation Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Plums Taste Like Grapes?
No, not really!
Plums do look a little bit like large grapes, with purple waxy skin on the outside and lots of juicy flesh on the inside. The taste isn’t very similar though.
Plums are unrelated to grapes and have a flavor that is closer to apricots, peaches, and cherries than it is to grapes.
Is Plum Sweet Or Sour?
Plums are supposed to be sweet, rather than sour, but in practice, this depends on how ripe the fruit is.
Unripened plums can be very tart or sour and are harder than ripe plums. When plums have been fully ripened they are very sweet and juicy, with no sourness at all.
Are You Supposed To Peel A Plum Before You Eat It?
There is no need to peel plums before eating them – and you may be removing a source of phytonutrients and antioxidants if you do. The skin of plums is healthy to eat.
If the waxy texture of plum skins doesn’t appeal to you, there is no problem in peeling them and enjoying this fruit in whatever way makes sense to you, but most people eat plums with the skin on.
Can Plums Be Eaten Raw?
You can bite right into a plum without cooking it. This is one of the most delicious ways to eat them!
Raw plums are both tasty and nutritious, but they need to be ripened properly to attain the sweetness that most people are looking for. As long as your plum is ripe, you can enjoy it.
Can Dogs Have Plums?
This question is a little more complicated than you might think.
Dogs are not allergic to the flesh of plums. Most dogs enjoy the sweetness of plums as much as humans do!
However, the pits and stems of plums are highly toxic to dogs. Unlike humans, dogs are not very good at separating the fruit from pits or discarding stems. They tend to eat all of it.
This is why you should never leave dogs around whole plums, especially if you know your dog enjoys plums! Although the fruit is safe, the stem and pit will likely end up in the dog’s stomach, causing toxicity and requiring a visit to the vet.
If you want to share the delicious flavors of plum with your dog, make sure to cut it up into cubes first, and never give a dog an entire whole plum, or leave your dog around whole plums that they might eat.
What Month Are Plums Ripe?
Plums are a summertime fruit in temperate climates. The season for plums is late June or early July to September.
Why Are My Plums Not Sweet?
If your plums are not as sweet as you want them to be, they are likely either unripe or chill-damaged.
Unripe plums can be left out on your countertop to ripen. If the skin seems hard to the touch, your plums could probably benefit from sitting out at room temperature for 2-3 days.
If, however, your plums are not sweet after being in the refrigerator or freezer, they might be chill damaged.
Chill damage happens when you put an unripe plum in the refrigerator or freezer. Unfortunately, when a plum is cooled before it is ripe it will never ripen. Instead, it will just become softer and tasteless, without ever becoming sweet.
Always ripen your plums at room temperature before storing them!
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