This smooth-skinned, sweet and succulent stone fruit is one of the only fruits that comes in such a diverse range of colours.
Plums are a summer fruit, with yellow-fleshed plums available early in the season. Yellow-fleshed plums can have red, dark-blue, yellow or a mottled skin colour. Good quality plums may still have a dusty white coating known as the ‘wax bloom’, showing the plum hasn’t been over-handled. The New Zealand varieties of yellow-fleshed plums include Wilson’s Early, Burbank, Purple King, Santa Rosa, Duff’s Early Jewel, Fortune and Red Doris.
Select plums free from bruising and/or wrinkly or split skin. Choose firm plums to ripen at home but avoid excessively hard plums as they may not develop a good flavour.
Leave unripe plums at room temperature and refrigerate once they are ripe. You can also freeze plums but remove the stone beforehand for maximum taste.
The red-skinned varieties contain a class of compounds called anthocyanins, which are being investigated for a range of potential health benefits.
- Make plum crumble by topping pitted plums with a mixture of oats, flour, reduced-fat spread, sugar and mixed spice. Bake until golden brown.
- Eat ripe plums at room temperature for maximum juiciness and sweetness.
- Add plums to breakfasts — in smoothies or bircher muesli or with cereal and yoghurt.
- Oven-bake plums: pit plums, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar then bake until tender.
- Stew plums with water and sugar to make a light refreshing compote. Compote is excellent with rice pudding, custard, low-fat yoghurt, cakes or cereal.
- Make jam by boiling plums and sugar in a 2:1 ratio, with some lemon juice.
- Add sliced plums to a summer salad for a sweet twist.
- Grill prosciutto-wrapped plums for an entrée when entertaining.
Did you know? The skin of the plum is responsible for its laxative effect. Peeling the fruit will prevent this side effect.