Everything you need to know about cooking with plums! How to pick the perfect plum variety, store it, and what flavors to pair it with.
It’s time for our next ingredient spotlight, and this time we’re looking at plums! Admittedly, I never used to like plums. But for the silliest reason. When my sister and I were younger, we each had our “favorites”, and these favorites could not overlap. If her favorite color was purple, mine had to be something else. If she liked dogs, I liked cats. And guess what? She really liked plum. That’s the silliest thing in the world right?
Well anyways, I bought a variety pack of plums for the photos in this rundown today, and quickly fell in love with greenages (read on for more on those)/have realized the huge mistake I’ve made in dismissing plums all my life. So for the next two weeks, I’m making it up and cooking these little flavor bombs into everything. But first, here are the basics of what you need to know about plums!
How to pick the perfect plum
Plums ripen from summer to early autumn, with different varieties ripening at different times. Pick a plum that’s heavy for it’s size and isn’t too soft. A soft plum is probably overripe.
Varieties of plums
Plums were one of the first fruits we humans domesticated, which means we’ve have thousands of years to breed new varieties of plums. There are way too many to list them all here, but here are some of the main varieties you may come across.
- Blackamber: A really popular one. These have a dark purple skin and a light yellow inside.
- Damson: These are also purple-skinned, but are a bit more tart, making them great for jams and baking.
- Greenage (or Reine Claude): Small and bright greenish-yellow, this variety is ultra-sweet, though a bit hard to come by.
- Mirabelle: Small and yellow, these are also super sweet.
- Satsuma: Red skin with bright red insides.
- Prunes: Prunes (dried plums), are made with freestone varieties of plums (the seed is easily removed, as opposed to clingstone varieties). And their well-known laxative properties? That’s just because they’re loaded with fiber and sorbitol, a sugar alcohol.
How to store plums
If your plums are hard and unripe, store them in a brown paper bag at room temperature for a few days. This helps concentrate the ethylene gas near the plums, causing them to ripen faster.
Once your plums are ripe, store them in the fridge and eat within a 3 to 5 days. They perish quickly so keep an eye on them!
Plum flavor combos
Not sure what to pair plums with in cooking? I always turn to the Vegetarian Flavor Bible for flavor combo ideas. Here are a few ingredients that pair really well with plums!
- Balsamic vinegar
- Other stone fruits (cherries, apricots, almonds, nectarines)
Plum Nutrition Information
per 1 plum (66 g)
- Calories: 30
- Carbohydrates: 8 g,
- Fiber: 1 g, 4% of your Daily Value (DV)
- Protein: 0 g
- Fat: 0 g
- 10% DV of Vitamin C: A water-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant to fight against potentially damaging free radicals (molecules with unshared electrons that float around wreaking havoc) and an important cofactor in collagen synthesis.
- 5% DV of Vitamin A: Provides the provitamin version of this fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it comes from a plant source and your body converts the plant pigment into active Vitamin A. It is essential in many components of healthy vision, as well as immunity and cell growth/differentiation.