Fresh, juicy plums are a signature summer stone fruit. Currently more than 140 varieties are grown throughout the world, and their vibrant sweet-tart flavor presents in shades from green to red to deep purple to almost black.
Plum skins are edible and often provide a pleasant snap when you bite into them; the small pit is discarded. The best plums are generally available from May to late October.
TIP: Though they’re most often eaten out of hand, plums are a versatile fruit that can be stewed, baked, poached or dried (once called prunes, now “dried plums”). Plums can also be frozen for later use; wash, pit and cut your plums in half, then pack them into airtight containers and freeze for up to a month.
Handling & Storage:
- Look for unwrinkled, smooth-skinned fruits with no blemishes, soft spots or discolorations. Choose plums that feel heavy for their size and give very slightly to soft finger pressure. Mature plums may have a dusty white or grayish sheen (or “bloom”) on the skin; that’s a natural coating that’s easily washed off, and it doesn’t affect flavor or quality.
- Unlike some fruits, plums won’t continue to ripen or develop more sweetness once they’ve been picked. You can soften hard plums by placing several in a loosely closed paper bag and leaving them at room temperature for a day or two; they won’t get sweeter, but they’ll soften and get juicier.
- Refrigerate ripe plums unwashed in a plastic bag for up to 3 days. Wash them just before using.