Cherry and peach relatives, plums have a waxy coating known as “wax bloom” on them that gives plums a yellow to blue hue depending on the variety of wax bloom. The Prunus genus contains the fruit known as plums. When looking for domesticated fruits, plums are a good option. Various plum varieties hail from different parts of the world, including the Caucasus Mountains, Eastern Europe, and China.
Vitamin C content in raw plums is about 12% of the daily recommended amount, and plums are 87% water. Dried plums are known as prunes because they are dried from fresh plums. Prunes are rich in minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber, making them beneficial for various health issues.
People often want to try a variety of plums to see how their taste differs due to the wide variety of plums available. Here, we’ve selected and described several types of plums.
Table of Contents
This variety of plum is a member of the common European plum family. Greengages are a type of green-fruited plum tree that grows very well in locations with warm temperatures all year. When you consume this fruit, you will experience a highly sweet and deep flavor profile. This is why it is a favorite choice for various types of sweets. They have higher levels of pectin, which means they retain well. Aside from pastries and preserves, this fruit is delicious in various cuisines, including soused fish and sashimi. The sweet flavor will balance out the dish’s harsher flavors.
This delicacy, also known as the mirabelle prune or the cherry plum, is made from a wild fruit that people grew and nurtured in Anatolia and is a member of the European plum family. However, due to restrictions on admitting imports from Lorraine, where they originate, this variety is restricted throughout the United States. This product has a sweet taste and a subtle but delicious flavor profile. When this fruit is usually utilized in sweets such as pies, strawberries, or fruit j. Additionally, this fruit juice can be fermented into wine or used to make distilled plum brandy. You should eat it raw and fresh to obtain the best possible flavor.
3. Japanese Plums
This fruit, also known as Chinese plums or Prunus salicina, is produced by small deciduous trees found in farms throughout Korea, Japan, Australia, Vietnam, and the United States. These round, wrinkled to smooth fruits, on the other hand, originated in China before spreading throughout the world. Umeboshi is a term used to describe Japanese-grown fruit. Because of the higher citric acid content, they have a very sour and salty flavor. Other varieties of this fruit have a very juicy and sweet flavor if you go for them.
4. Cherry Plums
This fruit is native to Western Asia and Southeast Europe. Myrobalan plums are another name for them and have also spread to parts of the United States and the British Isles. They have a soft texture with juicy flesh, and they have a very bold and bright flavor. The tart flavor nicely balances the acidic sweetness. Furthermore, the nutrient content of this fruit is beneficial to your body’s metabolism and nervous system. They have a bright red color and long stems that look like large cherries.
This plum’s fleshy fruit contains a single seed known as a damascene. It is another variety that belongs to the European plum family. This fruit grows in the United Kingdom, but other varieties can also grow throughout Europe. The trees will produce small fruit with distinct blue skin, as well as larger stones. It also has a very sour taste and a strong scent, so you should not eat this fruit raw. This fruit can be stewed and eaten, and it makes a lovely dessert with a layer of whipped cream added to the top of the stewed fruits. It contains fiber, which is beneficial to your digestive health. It can also help to strengthen your immune system.
This plum is a hybrid that belongs to the interspecific plum family, also called pluots. A plumcot has a lovely flavor profile without the bitter taste that other types of cultivated plums have. It is a nutritious and portable snack that’s high in minerals and vitamins. You can eat it raw without peeling it, making it an excellent addition to your lunch. Because the pits in this type of fruit are small, you get more flesh with each bite. They have darker purple skin with a reddish tinge to their flesh.
This variety is one of the best European plum varieties on the market, and the plum tree can produce a large crop of larger fruits. You can easily cross-pollinate this type of fruit with other types to get better crops. They complement the brook plums well. This plant is also very disease resistant, and you can eat it both fresh and raw. Because they are large, they can also make for tasty jellies and jams. They go well in a variety of recipes, and you can quickly dry them for later use. They have a purplish-red exterior with a yellowish interior.
8. Elephant Heart
This is a larger variety of plum that comes in the shape of a heart, as the name suggests. The skin can range in color from purple to dark red and has a firm texture. The flesh is exceptionally juicy and sweet, with enough moisture to make you feel like you’re drinking juice when you eat it. It is considered a Japanese plum, and it’s delicious when eaten fresh. This fruit variety also has a delicate balance of tart and sweet flavors, and the flesh tastes like berries. This pump is typically harvested between September and October, making it a late-season fruit.
This type of plum is native to Japan, and its skin is much lighter in color than other types, almost amber. However, it can also range in color from dark violet to bright black in some cases, and it has a round shape. The flesh is orange-tinged, and there is a small pit with a juicy and sweet flavor. They will be ready to pick around three weeks after the Black Ruby is. This plum’s firm flesh makes it popular for eating fresh. The trees take much longer to harvest, and the bumper crop will not be ready until the last weeks of August.
10. French Prune
The French prune is another new European plum variety that, when dried, produces prunes. This variety is a stone fruit with an oblong shape that resembles a small pear. It is a tiny variety that only matures to around walnut-size with a smaller tree. This fruit has a smokey and dark skin with light blue to purple color, and the flesh is dark amber. The fruit is ready for harvest in late summer. The Improved French Prune variety is trendy throughout the United States. It is very sweet when it’s soft. However, as it cools, it will become very tart.
11. Black Beauty
This variety is another Japanese plum with darker purple skin and bright yellow flesh. It’s a very juicy fruit with firm flesh that can grow to be medium or large if allowed to grow for a longer period. This plum is the type of fruit you want to eat while it’s still fresh. You should lightly squeeze the flesh. If it does, it means it’s ready to go. If it’s unripe and hard, leave it at room temperature to soften. When it’s soft, it has a nice balance of tartness and sweetness, but when it’s hard, it’s extremely tart.
12. Blood Plum
Blood plums are Japanese-style fruit with a very dark red flesh and skin that makes them easily identifiable. The flesh of this fruit has a tough and firm texture, but when you bite into it, it’s surprisingly sweet and tasty. The fruit is slightly larger than other types of plums and can have cherry undertones. This plum is high in antioxidants, which can help your body fight heart disease and other chronic illnesses. It’s also beneficial for people who have high blood pressure, anxiety, or constipation.
13. Black Amber
Black amber is a Japanese-style plum with very large fruit that appears almost black. As the fruit ripens, the flesh turns an ashen yellow color. This plum is one quick way to tell if it’s ready to eat. It has a very bright and juicy flavor and texture, and it’s great to eat raw. However, if you cook it and add it to dishes or make sweet sauces out of it, you can’t go wrong. This type of fruit contains a high concentration of vitamin A, which can help keep your eyes healthy.
14. Lemon Plum
Lemon plums are a lesser-known variety that originated in Chile. As the name suggests, the exterior is a bright yellow color that looks more like a lemon than a plum. The flesh, on the other hand, is a prominent distinguishing feature of this fruit. It has a very sweet flavor with a lemony tartness to it. At first, the flesh will be crisp and firm, but it will soften as the fruit ripens. This fruit can be eaten raw and fresh by slicing it very thinly and sprinkling it with a small salt. You can also use it to make a tangy compote by cooking it in sugar.
15. El Dorado
This plum is another variety from the European family, with amber flesh and darker skin. The flesh has a very sweet flavor profile and a very firm texture; however, the skin is slightly sour. However, as long as you set aside time to cook, it’s trendy on menus because the more firm texture can withstand heat without becoming mushy. You could eat these fruits raw without issue, but be aware that they have an extremely sweet taste.
16. Black Splendor
This variety is a slightly newer plum that tastes very sweet and has a blackish-blue outer layer. The interior flesh layer is juicy and reddish in color. They range in size from medium to large, but this is an early-season plum that will be ready to eat in June’s first to the third week. As a result, they perform better in warmer planting zones because they must begin budding earlier in the year to ensure that they are ready to pick at the appropriate time. They have a slightly firm texture that softens as they ripen and work well in baked goods.
17. Red Plum
Red plums have a tart and sweet flavor profile that can help you increase your vitamin and mineral intake while also providing many antioxidants. The color of the outer skin layer can range from dark purple to light red, and the color of the flesh can also vary. The flesh can be red, but it can also be a golden yellow color. Yellow-fleshed plums typically contain more nutrients than red-fleshed plums.
18. Black Ruby
Black Ruby is a reddish-brown plum with yellowish-orange flesh that is fairly round. In contrast to other plum varieties, the center of black ruby is freestone, which means that the stone easily separates from the flesh. Other types of Japanese plums, on the other hand, are “clingstone,” with the flesh tightly attached to the pit.
According to the website of Clemson University Horticulture, Black Ruby trees can easily tolerate humid climates, which is why they are cultivated in the damp areas of southern and Mediterranean areas.
While some people may confuse them with plucots, these fruits have a smooth reddish skin with yellowish flesh. Dapple Dandy, Flavor Grenade, Flavorglo, and Dinosaur Egg are some of the pluots available.
This hybrid is also best consumed fresh when it is fragrant, firm, and vibrant. If the plums are soggy, it means they’re still unripe and should be stored at room temperature for three days or in the refrigerator for about a week.
20. Belle de Louvain
The dry flesh of the Belle de Louvain makes it an excellent choice for making pie fillings, as the lack of moisture ensures that the bottom of your pastry does not become a soggy mess. It’s also delicious when made into jam, with a rich dark color that draws the eye.
It’s also a hardier plum tree variety than many on this list, which means it can withstand colder and windier conditions and fights disease better than others. It is partially self-fertile, and while it may take longer to bear fruit than others, this allows the tree to strengthen its branches and prove more dependable in the long run.
Czar plum trees produce high-quality fruits consistently. The tree will bloom with dazzling white flowers in the spring. The fruits themselves – a stunningly attractive dark blue – will appear in late August and early September.
The Czar is a compact and self-pollinating specimen that can grow to a maximum height of four meters (but is usually shorter). It is ideal for locations where space is limited. It is best suited for colder areas because of its ability to withstand harsher conditions and consistently produce fruit.
22. Marjorie’s Seedling
Marjorie’s Seedling is another hardier strain that is suitable for colder gardens. It produces rich, blue fruits that you can harvest from September onwards. However, if they are allowed to ripen on the vine, they will have a fuller, richer flavor.
To achieve the best results, thin out the fruit in late June to ensure that the tree devotes sufficient attention to those that remain on its branches. It is self-fertile and always produces a good yield when cropping time comes.
23. Purple Pershore
Purple Pershore is a popular culinary plum due to its durability, dependability, and disease resistance. It’s one of the few plum cultivars that can resist silver leaf fungus. Because it blooms later in the year, it usually avoids the most severe effects of spring frost. It’s also self-fertile, making it relatively simple to grow.
On the other hand, Purple Pershore is particularly prone to over-cropping; if this occurs, the tree is likely to produce no yields at all the following year. As a result, it’s best to thin it out in the summer before reaping the benefits in mid-August. It is also quite large, making it unsuitable for smaller gardens.
24. Cambridge Gage
Cambridge Gage, as a greengage, produces smaller fruit than some other plum cultivars. However, what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in delectably sweet flavor. Thanks to its yellow-green flesh that easily peels away from the stone, it’s been a favorite in desserts for centuries.
The tree itself is a slightly sensitive creature that thrives in warmer, more sheltered environments. It takes its time to mature and is susceptible to spring frosts, and it is self-incompatible, requiring a pollinator. Even under ideal conditions, it only produces a modest yield on a semi-reliable basis – but the fruit is well worth the effort.
The Opal is a cross between a plum and a gauge, so it has the best of both worlds. On the one hand, it has the delectable sweetness of the gauge family but the slightly larger dimensions of a plum. When ripe in late July and early August, the exterior is a bright yellow with red and purple swirls.
Because the Opal crops are earlier in the year than some of their counterparts. It is more susceptible to spring frost and thus grows best in full sunlight in warmer parts of the country. On the other hand, it is self-fertile, disease-resistant, and produces abundant yields – so much so that overcropping can be an issue on occasion.
Avalon, a relatively new cultivar, was developed to provide a more appealing alternative to the Victoria variety. When the skin is a pinkish-red color, it is ideal for making jams or other preserves. However, you can leave the fruit on the tree until it turns a darker purplish red, at which point it makes an excellent dessert plum.
Avalon may take a little longer (a year or more) to bear its first fruit than other cultivars, but once it does, it’s a fairly reliable option. It is partially self-fertile, which means it will benefit from another plum variety in its vicinity. However, it tends to overcrop, which can affect the quality of this year’s yield and the emergence of any fruits at all the following year. Appropriate pruning can help to avoid such an occurrence.
27. Blue Tit
The Blue Tit, a hybrid of Old Green Gage and Czar, has the succulent taste of the former and the hardiness of the latter. Its fruit will appear light green on the branch at first but will darken to a deep purple over time. Pick it a week or so before it’s fully ripe if you want to use it in cooking, or wait until it falls to the ground if you’re going to eat it right away.
The Blue Tit is a good choice for beginning gardeners because it is disease-resistant and self-fertile. That said, crop yields can increase by introducing a similar species nearby (Victoria is a particularly apt choice). It tolerates spring frosts reasonably well and should be able to survive in all but the harshest conditions.
28. Ouillins Golden Gage
Ouillins Golden Gage is one of the most consistent gauge varieties, producing relatively large fruits year after year. It is a culinary and cooking plum, which means you can eat it right away or make a delicious jam with it. The fruits, which are ready to pick in mid-August, are a greenish-yellow color.
The Ouillins Golden Gage is suitable for almost all locations in the country due to its late flowering nature, and it is frost and disease-resistant. However, it’s best to cultivate it in a sheltered area protected from the worst of the wind for the best results. It is self-fertile but will benefit from the presence of a nearby partner cultivar.
Victoria is, without a doubt, the most popular variety of plum trees originating in the UK. It is also one of the oldest species and one of the simplest to grow. It can be eaten or cooked; pick the fruit when it is an orangey-red for the former, or wait until it develops into a purplish red for the latter.
Victoria is self-fertile and will produce abundant yields even if no other plum variety is nearby. On the other hand, it is highly susceptible to disease and pests, with bacterial canker, brown rot, plum moth, and silver leaf among the most severe threats. Because of its high yields are prone to overcropping and irreversible branch damage, so thin it out in mid-June.
The Burbank is a well-known old variety with a long history. Medium in size, with an attractive orange-red color that covers the majority of its surface and amber-yellow base color, the fruit is a delight to look at. The flesh is yellow, fine-grained, firm and juicy, sweet, and highly flavorful. It is also straightforward to prepare. The peak harvest period is from the second half of August to the beginning of September.
31. Santa Rosa
‘Santa Rosa’ plums are reddish-purple drupes with juicy strawberry-colored flesh. These plums range in size from medium to large and have a round shape. When you bite into a ‘Santa Rosa’ plum, you’ll find a thin skin covering plump, juicy flesh. There is slight tartness in the flavor, and many people say it tastes like cherry-flavored fruit punch.
Santa Rosa plums have many applications, including eating them fresh or using them in baked goods.
32. Italian Prune
Like the French prune, the Italian prune is a large, oblong, egg-shaped plum with a powdery coating on purple-blue skin. This freestone plum has green-amber juicy flesh that cooks to a deep fuchsia color. The sweetness of the plum tree’s fruit increases as it ripens.
Although Italian prune plums can be eaten fresh, most of the harvest is dried to make prunes. Dark-skinned Moyer plums are sometimes sold as Italian prunes or French prunes.
33. “Owen T” and “John W”
Both of these black plum varieties were recently introduced and are among the large plum varieties. On the other hand, Owen T is one of the largest plums, measuring up to 3 inches in width and weighing nearly half a pound. Owen T plums have beautiful bluish-black skin and sweet yellowish flesh.
On the other hand, John W plums are named after their fruit breeder, John H. Weinberger, and have purple skin and orange flesh. According to the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, the trees of these two plums produce many plum crops, with Owen T in the midseason and John W in the late season.
How to tell if plums are ripe?
You harvest plums in the same way regardless of the variety. They grow in a deciduous tree that can easily reach 20 feet or more in height, but you can keep it pruned to 10-feet or less to make fruit harvesting easier. Depending on the weather, variety, and microclimate, your plums could be ready to harvest between June and September.
Plums typically develop from blossoms for three to four months, and they ripen on the tree from a very green and hard stage to soft and fully colored. They will only be ripe on the tree for two weeks, and they will begin to drop as they overripen. On the tree, you might find a mix of green-tinged and unripe fruit alongside fully ripe fruit.
Furthermore, most plums will not improve much once picked from the tree, so you’ll want to choose the tree and harvest the plums several times during the two-week window. This period will produce the best fruit while minimizing the mess in your landscape. Check the following to see if your plums are ripe:
- Color: Depending on the variety, plums can turn a wide range of colors, including purple, almost black, or red, into a pale green. It can be challenging to tell if a plum is ripe simply by looking at it.
- Feel/Texture: Ripe plums are usually soft and will show slight dents when pressed. Overripe plums are squishy, soft, and splat on the ground.
- Smell: You can also give your fruit a sniff test. A ripe fruit smells very fruity and sweet, whereas an unripe fruit has no scent.
- Taste: The best way to determine ripeness is to taste it. A ripe piece of fruit will have a strong flavor, be sweet and juicy. A less ripe fruit will be bitter or sweeter.
What is the best way to store plums?
You’ll want to sort through your fruit after you’ve finished harvesting it each day. As you go, you can discard any unusable fruit. The best plums should be somewhat firm, fully colored, and free of interior damage. Remove any fruit that is split, damaged, oozing, too soft, or unripe. Any extra-ripe fruit you get will also be soft, making it more juicy and sweet. However, it is highly perishable, so use them right away or refrigerate them.
Store your plums whole in a bowl with cling wrap in the refrigerator for four to five days. You can also cut the plums into wedges or slices of your desired size after removing the pits. This method will keep them fresh for three or four days.
You can also freeze plums after being washed and allowed to air dry. Cut the pits into slices after removing the pits. Place your slices on a sheet pan and place the pan in the freezer until they are solid. Remove the pans from the freezer and place the frozen slices in a freezer bag. Seal the bags after pressing out as much air as possible, then place them in the deepest part of the freezer for up to eight months.