Putting the Best In Your Fruit Bowl
Plums can be a true 5 star fruit, really irresistible, a whole bowl full disappearing in no time! There are all sorts of types of plums, and they are generally on the shelves all year round. Unfortunately, we are often disappointed by fruit that are sour, particularly around the stone, or are hard and low in juice.
It is important to understand the difference between early, mid and late season plums.
Early season plums are generally quite light in flavour and sweetness, have a sharpness to the taste and are fairly soft when ripe.
Mid season plums are most familiar, being sweet, juicy and often quite delicious.
Late season plums can also be delicious, but tend to be more dense, sometimes quite hard. The traditional last variety from any growing area is Angelino, a sweet, dark plum, but one that will never be juicy and soft due to the time it has spent on the tree.
The southern hemisphere plum season is drawing to an end, but African Delight from South Africa is still available. This is a lovely variety, intensely sweet and with great flavour. Fortunately, it stores quite well so may be available for a few more weeks.
Otherwise, the standard offer is Angelino from both Chile and South Africa. This is the last variety available from any growing area and will flood the shelves for a while. Don’t expect sweet, juicy succulence as this is a hard, almost crisp plum, though should be sweet enough.
Several other varieties are available, but ending soon: Larry Ann and Red Heart being the most common.
Otherwise, the yellow plum, Sunkiss, also from South Africa, is usually sweet and satisfying: now being replaced by Sungold and African Pride.
A red skinned, yellow-fleshed, cling-stone plum of mid to late season. Generally has very good flavour and exceptionally high levels of sweetness, and with decent juice content. This is a lovely late-season plum which can be almost irresistible to eat when properly ripened: a great alternative to the traditional crunchy, late season varieties. In South … Read More »
The Angelino plum is a common late season variety which almost becomes the only choice for consumers in Autumn (as the northern hemisphere season ends) and Spring (as the southern hemisphere season ends). This is a dark red plum with a pale yellow flesh and small stone. The flesh is dense and crunchy, without much … Read More »
The brontosaurus egg ® variety is a yellow – purple skin Pluot with green speckles imitating a prehistoric egg. A pluot is a cross between a plum variety and an apricot variety, and often results in the best of both, give flavour and sweetness with, in this case, an unusual appearance. Origin: Brontosaurus Egg is … Read More »
A high quality eating plum. Large fruit with rose to dark pink skin. Similar to Victoria, but rated as having a better eating quality, though not as good looking. Excalibur is a mid-late season plum, slightly later than Victoria. Origin: Introduced in 1980. Bred in Bristol, UK Grown in:UK Harvest & Availability: Late August to … Read More »
The Flavor King is a Pluot, ‘Prunus pluot’, a unique plum-apricot hybrid. The remarkable, spicy bouquet and flavour is reminiscent of bubble-gum, and is delicious. The fruit has a reddish-purple skin and sweet red flesh. Origin: Grown in: South Africa, Italy, Spain, France, California Harvest & Availability: February: from South Africa June to early July: … Read More »
Flavorosa is a pluot (plum x apricot cross). The shape is quite unusual being slightly flat, and the dark red skin is a little resistant. However, once inside, the deep red flesh is delicious, flavoursome and sweet. This is one of the earliest pluots to become mature. Origin: Zaiger’s Genetics have trade-marked the name Pluot. … Read More »
Greengages, or Reine Claude, are often regarded as a separate type of fruit to plums, but they are a plum cultivar developed from a green wild plum. They are one of those unique fruit that we look out for each summer. Not particularly appetising due to the pale green / pale yellow appearance, but heavenly … Read More »
A red-purple plum with small brown spots and a green-yellow background. It is similar to Victoria, but slightly larger and darker. A good eating and culinary plum, with a slight tang to balance the sweetness, Jubileum is said to be equal to Victoria as an eating plum. Jubileum is a mid-season plum, slightly earlier than … Read More »
A fairly common red plum which readily available from both Spain, Israel and South Africa. A good, steady variety that is satisfying to eat. Origin: Grown in: South Africa, Israel, Spain Harvest & Availability: South Africa harvest is in December – January March: from South Africa
Marjorie Seedling is a late season English plum, coming after the Victoria plum. It is quite large, oval shaped with purple skin. The flesh is a pale green, soft and slightly fluffy. This is a decent, if not exciting plum. Origin: 1912, Berkshire, England. Grown in: England Harvest & Availability: Mid to late September: from … Read More »
A late red plum variety, though the skin colour is more an attractive pink-orange than red. The shape is a very slightly elongated sphere and the size is generally quite large. The flesh is pale yellow, fairly soft and with decent juice, less dense that many late varieties. The flavour is mild, pleasant with good … Read More »
Opal is an early to mid season plum with pale yellow flesh. They can be deliciously sweet and flavoursome, almost like a greengage, but a little bland if grown in the wrong aspect. The skin is a varied colour from yellow to purple and the fruit size is small to medium. Opal is a free-stone … Read More »
A late season red plum. The shape is distinctive with a prominent ‘nose’ at the stylar -end and the colour is a attractive pinkish-red. The flesh is pale orange and the stone is small and loose. Pink Rosa has some of the characteristics of a late season variety with flesh that is a little ‘floury’ … Read More »
Pioneer is an early red-skinned plum variety. The skin is bright red and the flesh a pale yellow colour. This is a cling-stone variety. Origin: Pioneer was bred by Infruitec in South Africa; released in 1995. Grown in: South Africa Harvest & Availability: Late November: from South Africa
A large red plum with a green/yellow background. The pale yellow flesh has a decent eating quality, sweet and juicy, similar to Victoria, though not usually rated as good. Reeves is a mid-season plum. It is slightly more firm than Victoria. Origin: Canada, 1940 Grown in: UK, Canada Harvest & Availability: Mid-August: from England
Sales: UK 2011 February Songold RSA March African Delight RSA Angelino CH Laetitia RSA Larry Ann CH Songold RSA Southern Belle RSA April African Delight RSA Angelino ARG, CH, RSA Blue Gusto CH Flavorfall RSA Larry Ann CH Red Heart CH Songold RSA Southern Belle RSA Suplumsix RSA May Angelino ARG, CH, RSA Flavorfall RSA … Read More »
The Victoria plum is the favourite variety of the UK. Soft, sweet, juicy and irresistible when properly mature, but with a sharpness and lack of flavour when harvested too early. Unfortunately, stores often sell Victoria plums slightly immature because the ripe fruit is so tender: perhaps the best place to buy is on street markets … Read More »
Yellow plums are common from South Africa and are a staple variety for supermarkets from December to March. Generally, they are reliable and satisfying, though not ‘top of the tree’ for flavour. In the European summer, yellow plums become available towards the beginning of July from Spain and Italy. Common varieties are Golden Japan, Sunkiss, … Read More »
It seems we're still busy researching how to determine the quality of this fruit.
Description: A deciduous stone fruit. A small fleshy, smooth-skinned fruit with a small hard stone.
Species: Prunus domestica (most commonly available plums); Prunus institia (Damsons); Prunus spinosa (Sloe / Blackthorn); Prunus armeniaca (Apricots – see separate section).
Handling & Storage: The fruit will generally be quite hard when on sale, though some varieties, especially those commonly grown in UK, will be noticeably soft. Plums are stored successfully at 0-1oC during transportation and storage, and in the refrigerator at home. They need to be at room temperature to ripen before eating.
Grown in: Plums are grown in a wide range of temperate and Mediterranean locations. The main commercial sources of plums for UK and Europe are: Italy, Portugal, Spain, England, France, Israel, USA, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Australia.
South Africa: mid-November to end March
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