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How to Select Plums

For most people buying plums in the marketplace or at farm markets, there are two major types of plums, European plums and Japanese plums. 

European plums are elongated, blue types, but other colors are available as well. In the USA, European plums are eaten fresh, as fresh slices in salads and desserts, and processed as puree for baby food, baking, dried fruit, and fermented as alcoholic beverages, depending on the varieties.

Japanese plums  are primarily used as fresh market plums but can also be used for cooking in cakes.   Japanese plums are generally not suitable for drying as they do not contain sufficient sugar and skin thickness to make a satisfactory prune.

As plums ripen, the green coloration disappears from the background ground color, accompanied by softer flesh, and aromatic smell. Each plum has a characteristic color. Purple varieties as they ripen change from green to greenish-blue, then to dark blue or purple.

Fruit will have the best flavor if allowed to ripen on the tree and eaten right away.  Plums store longer if picked when mature but before it is soft and prone to bruising.

Plums still firm when pressed with the side of a thumb can be used in salads or allowed to ripen for a few days. Ripening of hard plums can be accelerated by placing several in a loosely closed paper bag and leaving them at room temperature for a day or two. 

Plums that “give” slightly when pressed gently with the side of a thumb are at the peak of eating enjoyment.  Plums that are noticeably soft can be used for cooking or in fruit smoothees.   See the recipe section for ideas.


Michigan Plum Growers Association

© 2012 - Forever, Michigan Plum Growers Advisory Group. All Rights Reserved.

Michigan Plum Growers Advisory Group
12800 Escanaba Drive Suite A
Dewitt, MI 48820-8680

Phone : 517.669.4250
Fax: 517.669.4251

Michigan Plums. All rights reserved.

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