Plums, Plums, Plums. Now is the time when the grocery and produce aisles are filled with wonderfully sweet and juicy plums. Plums come in over 2,000 varieties, with over 100 varieties available in the US, all with their unique taste and look. Plums are a relative of the peach, nectarine and almonds and when dried they become known as prunes. The skins of plums can be red, purple, blue-black, red, green, yellow or amber, while their flesh comes in hues such as yellow, green and pink and orange—a virtual rainbow. If you want to purchase plums that are ripe and ready to eat, look for ones that yield to gentle pressure and that are slightly soft at their tip. While you can also purchase plums that are firm and ripen them at home, avoid those that are excessively hard as they will be immature and will probably not develop a good taste and texture profile. Plums that are not yet ripe can be left at room temperature. As this fruit tends to mature quickly, check on them in the next day or two to ensure that they do not become overripe. Once they are ripe, plums can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days. If the plums have been in the refrigerator, allow them to approach room temperature before eating them as this will help them attain the maximum juiciness and sweetness.
Often you will also find pluots in with the plums – and they are our family’s favorite “plums”. Pluots are a cross hybrid of plum and apricot. Our favorite ones are Flavor Grenades and Dinosaur Eggs. The pluot’s exterior fairly closely resembles a plum’s. Pluots are noted for their sweetness (due to a very high sugar content) and for their intense flavor. They are also very, very juicy. Perhaps that is why Pluots are the ones we love best for eating right off the counter. We have learned to always have plenty of napkins at hand to help clean up the juice which often finds its way down our chins, down our arms and then drips off our elbows. Eating pluots is almost as messy as eating watermelon on a hot day.
Pluot Varieties include:
- Dapple Dandy: large and sweet with mottled pale green to yellow, red-spotted skin, red or pink juicy flesh.
- Flavorella: round, medium-sized, golden-yellow, with sweet and juicy flesh.
- Flavor Grenade: oblong with red blush on green background very sweet and juicy.
- Flavor Heart: very large, black with a heart shape, and yellow flesh.
- Flavor King: very sweet, medium or large, with red-purple skin and red flesh.
- Flavorosa: very sweet or tart, medium-sized, flat round dark-purple fruit with red flesh.
- Flavor Prince: large round and purple, with red flesh.
- Flavor Rich (flavorich): medium-sweet, large black round fruit with orange flesh.
- Flavor Safari: medium, oblong, orange-red mottled fruit with juicy yellow flesh.
- Flavor Supreme: medium or large, greenish purple skin, juicy red flesh.
- Flavor Jewel: Red Blush on yellow gold background with yellow flesh.
- Flavor Queen: large light-green to yellow, very juicy.
- Sweet Treat: green yellow skin very sweet and juicy flesh.