It is believed that plums may have been one of the first fruits to be domesticated by humans. Native to Iran, plums arrived in Britain from Asia. Plum fruit is medium sized, ranging between 2cm and 7cm in diameter. The colours of these juicy fruits can be somewhat diverse – some varieties will be bright green, red, and others are shades of purples and blacks.
Plums contain a hard stone in their centre so the fruit is a type of drupe. Plum trees are renowned for their productive and hardy nature and do well in UK gardens.
However, if the weather is too wet this can severely hinder the fruit harvest and plums may fall from the tree prematurely. Many of the more serious plum diseases stem from issues caused by wet weather.
Plums are enjoyed fresh off the tree but they are also versatile enough to add to culinary dishes.
What is Plum Fruit?
Plums are a popular fruit, often enjoyed as they are fresh or as part of a dessert. You can buy fruiting plum trees and ornamental varieties which are admired for their flowers.
Different varieties of trees will produce different coloured plums. The size will differ, but they do all tend to have the same circular or elongated appearance. Generally speaking, the flesh inside plums will be green-yellow and have a sweet, juicy taste.
Plums in the UK are in season between August and September although you can freeze plums to use later. They can also be dried, or canned to preserve them. Plum and damson jam is very popular and a useful way of using up your heavy crop of plums.
Juicy Plum Facts:
- The remains of plums were found in Neotholic age archaeological sites.
- Water makes up 87% of the average plum.
- Dried plums are known as prunes.
- There are over 40 species of plums.
- To eat plums without the skin you can submerge them in boiling water briefly, followed by cold water and then the skin will come off with ease.
What Do Plums Taste Like?
As with many fruits, the taste of plums will depend on the variety you are eating and also how ripe they are.
An unripe plum can taste much tarter than a fully ripened one and many people prefer them sweeter. The skin can be quite bitter which is edible but can also be peeled so you only eat the sweet flesh. A ripe plum shouldn’t be soft but will be a texture that is easy to bite into.
Popular Ways to Eat Plums?
There are plenty of ways to enjoy plums so it all depends if you plan to eat them fresh or as part of a recipe. Plums work well chopped up and tossed in a salad along with pine nuts.
They can be sliced and added to your bottle of water for a fruity twist. Plum sauce is used on meats and of course, you can make a delicious pie using cooked plums.
- Scientific Name: Prunus Domestica.
- Fruit Family: Rosaceae aka the Rose Family.
- Related to: Cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots and almonds.
How to Grow Plums
Plums are one of the tree varieties which crop very heavily which means you will be treated to a plethora of plums.
No garden is too small either which means anyone with outside space can consider growing plums. You can buy modest-sized plum trees in the form of a container-grown one. Your plum tree will look spectacular with its white blossoms followed by colourful fruits.
Pruning is vital for plum trees due to their heavy cropping nature as this will prevent branches from breaking off. Plum trees enjoy well-drained and fertile soil and will also benefit from mulch around the area.
Plant your plum tree out during November and March and place it where it will receive plenty of sunlight. You can fan train your plum tree against a fence and they may need protection from frosts with the use of horticultural fleece.
Harvesting Plum Fruit
In the UK, plums are ready to harvest during August and September.
You may need to pick them in various stages due to their abundant nature. When plums can be squeezed gently they are ready to be picked. Be careful when harvesting plums so that you do not bruise them in the process.
How to Use Plums
Plums have their uses in both sweet and savoury dishes once you have removed the stone from the middle.
Remove The Stone In These Easy Steps:
- Wash the plums before pitting them.
- Use a knife and slice along the seam of the plum.
- Twist the fruit open using your fingers to gently prise it apart.
- You can then hold half of the plum with the stone in your hand and scoop it out with a spoon.
- Make sure your plums aren’t overripe as they will be too squishy to work with.
Plum jam never gets boring and it is a superb way of using up a lot at once – you could even gift some jars of it to your neighbours. It is a tasty jam to layer inside a victoria sponge cake and other desserts too. You could be adventurous and make some plum brandy or wine with your glut. You might not be too sure what you would like to make with your plums yet, and if this is the case simply freeze them for future use.
Plums are low in calories, yet high in vitamins which means they are a very nutritious food source to include in your diet.
- Vitamins A, C, & K
- Vitamin B
Plums make a healthy snack and can give your immune system a vital boost. They can be tasty in a smoothie for a healthy start to the day.
How Many Calories in Plum Fruit?
One plum contains on average 30 calories, 8g of carbohydrates and 1g of fibre.
Plum Health Benefits
We put many foods into our body without knowing how good they are for us so we have broken down some important information for you. Below are just a handful of health benefits that come from including plums in your daily routine.
Good Source Of Vitamin C
We all know how good Vitamin C is for our body and plums contain a good amount when eaten regularly. This important vitamin builds immunity, helps the body heal, and helps to build muscle too. Sometimes, we all get run down despite our best efforts to stay healthy. Regular doses of Vitamin C help keep the mind and soul in tip-top condition.
Rich In Antioxidants
A diet rich in antioxidants helps the body protect itself against illnesses such as cancer and diabetes. Anxiety can be heightened when the body has low levels of antioxidants so including plums in an anxious person’s diet can help balance things out.
A Natural Laxative
Due to the sorbitol present in plums, eating this fruit regularly can help with constipation. Prune juice is often recommended to people struggling to go to the toilet and is often tried before relying on medicine.
Helps With High Blood Pressure
Plums contain potassium which can help control blood pressure levels, reducing the risk of illness such as strokes. It also helps to keep your blood sugar levels up which is important for maintaining good health.
While humans can enjoy this tasty fruit, dogs should not have plums. The pit and the plum plant contain harmful toxins such as cyanide. While your dog will probably be fine taking a bite of the flesh, it is not advisable to allow this. Dogs can become very ill when they eat foods containing toxins which can even lead to death.
Prunes are dried plums and the European plum is the ones most commonly used for the drying process. Just to add some confusion though, some prunes come from a different species of plant than plums. This means technically, not all prunes are plums.
Plums are quite acidic and their PH levels sit between 2.8 and 4.3, largely determined by the variety being consumed. This means if you are prone to issues such as acid reflux or heartburn you may need to watch how often you have these in your diet.
You can plant a plum pit as long as you bear in mind that the results will not be the same as buying a young plum tree. Your homegrown pit may never fruit or may not resemble the average looking plum. However, it is fine to plant the stone and often the results are pleasing.