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Plum Types & Plums - Great in all forms!


Plum fruit is sweet and juicy.  It can be eaten fresh or used in jam-making or many other recipes. Plum juice can be fermented into plum wine also.  When distilled, this produces a brandy known in Eastern Europe as Slivovitz, Rakia, Tzuica or Palinka.  Plum fruit is rated high in antioxidant content that offers many health benefits like Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin C, Niacin, and the minerals; Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorus, and Iron.

Dried plums are known as prunes. Prunes are also sweet and juicy and contain many antioxidants.  Prune makers in the United States have recently begun marketing their product as "dried plums". This is due to the "prune" having negative connotations connected with elderly people suffering from constipation.

Different flavors of dried plum are available at Chinese grocers and specialty stores worldwide. These dried plums tend to be much drier than the regular (no pun intended) prune.  Cream, Spicy, Ginsing, and Salty are among the common flavors. Licorice is generally used to intensify the flavor of these dried plums.  It is also used to make salty plum drinks and toppings for Shaved Ice or baobing.

The Pickled plum is another type of preserve available in Asia and international specialty stores. The Japanese variety, called "umeboshi", is often used for rice balls, called "Onigiri" or "Omusubi". The ume, from which umeboshi are made, is however closer related to the apricot than to the plum.

Plums come in a wide range of colours, textures, and sizes. Some are much firmer than others and some have red, white, green or yellow flesh, with equally varying skin colour.

Plums and prunes are widely known for their laxative effect. This has been attributed to compounds present in the fruits, such as dietary fiber, sorbitol, and isatin.  Prunes and prune juice are often used to help regulate the the digestive system.

Plum cultivars in use today include:

 - Damson, or Damask Plum
 - Satsuma plum (Firm red flesh with a red skin.)
 - Mirabelle (Dark yellow, predominantly grown in northeast France.)
 - Greengage (Firm, green flesh and skin even when ripe.)
 - Yellowgage, or Golden plum (Similar to Greengage, but yellow.)

When a plum tree flowers, in the early spring, a plum tree will be covered in blossom.  In a good year around 50% of the flowers will be pollinated and become plums. Flowering starts after 80 growing degree days.

If the weather is too dry for the plums, they will not develop past a certain stage.  Instead they will fall from the tree while still tiny green buds.  If it is unseasonably wet or if the plums are not harvested as soon as they are ripe, the fruit may develop a fungal condition known as "brown rot". Brown rot is not toxic, so the very small affected areas can be cut out of the fruit.  Unless the rot is caught immediately the fruit will no longer be edible though.  The Plum is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera including November Moth, Willow Beauty and Short-cloaked Moth.

The Serbian plum is the third most produced in the world and the alcoholic drink Slivovitz (Plum brandy) is the national drink of Serbia. The plum production averages 424,300 tonnes per year.

A large number of plums are also grown in Hungary where they are called "szilva" and are used to make "lekvar" (a plum paste jam), "palinka" (a slivovitz-type liquor), plum dumplings, and various other foods.  The region of Szabolcs-Szatmár, in the northeastern part of the country near the borders with Ukraine and Romania, is a major producer of plums.

Plums, while being great for you, are very tasty in all of the ways they are used (Wines, Dried, etc etc).  So next time you are at the grocers, picks some up and give them a try!

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Comments submitted from other visitors

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cool plums!!!

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yellow plums!! :-)

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what Serbian plum?? when did that become a serbian plum? Did the Serbs invent it?

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