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When Are Plums in Season?

By Team Fetch

February 16, 2024

If you’re looking to enjoy this fruit at its most flavorful, you should know that plum season is May through October, and seasonality matters with this juicy little number.

Their blend of sweet and sour hits best within that late summer/early fall window, which is also when you’ll see sales surging and prices peaking. Prices usually pick up in April and taper back in September, so plums become a frugal fruit indeed between September and March.

But seasonality is only part of the picture. With plums, there’s a right and a wrong way to pick them, store them, cut them, and (naturally enough) prepare them, all of which we cover below.

Before heading to the supermarket, make sure you’re using Fetch to make your grocery shopping list. With our shopping app, you’ll earn rewards on all your grocery store purchases. Download Fetch today, snap all your receipts, and start earning points you can redeem for free gift cards from a number of grocery stores and popular retailers.

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Do Plums Grow on Trees & Where Do Plums Grow?

The world is home to literally hundreds of plum varieties, but each and every one grows from a small tree in cute little clusters.

As a hardy fruit able to thrive in different soils and climates, plums can gain a foothold across the world. Chances are you could grow one in your own yard. Head to the store and you’re likely to find plums of the prunus americana persuasion – they’re mostly grown across the Northeast.

Information detailing when plum sales increase

How Long Do Plums Last?

Unripe plums keep ripening at home. We’ve put together a quick guide to gauging ripeness, and any that aren’t quite ready can be left out at room temperature. To give the ripening process a kick in the butt, just place them in a paper bag.

Once ripe, plums can be left out and enjoyed within about three days. They’ll keep a little longer in your fridge’s crisper drawer.

How to Pick Ripe Plums

There’s an art and a science to the picking of plums. Getting the skill down pat means departing the produce aisle with the confidence of a person who knows their fruit. Here’s what to do:

  • Apply Gentle Pressure: There should be a little give without any mushiness to it. If a plum is hard, it still needs to ripen. If it’s soft and squishy, it’s past its prime.
  • Check theSkin: Warning signs include blemishes, bruises, cuts, and wrinkles. A good plum should have smooth, unbroken skin.
  • Check the Color: Flavor-packed plums boast a deep, rich, consistent color. Shades of green suggest it was picked too soon, while dark spots are telltale signs of spoilage.
  • Feel the Weight: The high water content in fresh plums makes them seem a touch too heavy for their size. As a plum turns bad, water content drops and it becomes noticeably lighter.
  • Take a Whiff: Plums should pass the scent test before advancing to your shopping cart. Bad plums give off a slightly sour or unpleasant smell, so put those ones back.

Tips to help identify ripe plums

How to Cut Plums

Plums can be treacherous devils. Innocent as they appear, each conceals a hard stone seed at its heart. Eating around it is one option, but it’s best to pit your plums before enjoying the juicy flesh within.

Start with a sharp paring knife, then follow these steps:

  1. Starting from the stem, carefully cut around the plum’s circumference.
  2. Gently twist the two halves apart until the stone is exposed.
  3. Squeeze the half with the stone to loosen it, then pluck it out.
  4. Lay the halves down flat on a cutting board and slice them to your desired thickness.

How to Store Plums & Make Plums Last Longer

Plums perform a skillful balancing act between the sweetness of natural sugars and the tanginess of organic acids. A plum left out too long will turn bitter as its sugars start to break down, a situation you can avoid by learning the ins and outs of proper plum storage.

  • Unripe Plums: We mentioned above that unripe plums can be kept at room temperature. Just be sure to keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
  • Ripe Plums: These are best stored in the fridge. Ripe plums will last from 2 to 4 weeks when kept between 31° and 32°F. Knocks and bumps can accelerate spoilage, so popping your plums in their own bowl is a smart move.
  • Sliced Plums: Remove the stone, then refrigerate your sliced plums in an airtight container.

Freezing is another option, though frozen plums may lose a little flavor. Put yours on ice by cutting into slices, placing on a sheet pan, and sticking in the freezer until completely frozen. Once solid, transfer slices to a Ziploc bag, making sure to remove as much air as possible, then place them in the deepest part of your freezer.

Tips for storing plums to preserve freshness

Easy Plum Recipes

Sure, raw plums can be enjoyed on their own as a healthy snack, but why stop there? They also form the basis for a whole bunch of preserves, sauces, and desserts thanks to their natural sweetness and texture. As an added plus, getting a few recipes under your belt helps prevent wastage by using up every plum you purchase.

Here are a few of our favorites.

How to Make Plum Jelly

Give the natural sweetness of plums an added boost with a preserve that can be either kept in the fridge or canned. It’s a particularly wise move when you have a lot of plums to use up after collecting points through our grocery app.

Ingredients:

  • Plums
  • Water
  • Pectin
  • Sugar
  • Butter (Optional)

Recipe:

  1. Wash plums thoroughly, discarding any that are bruised or rotten.
  2. Remove and discard the stones.
  3. Place the plums in a deep pot and cover with water, then bring to a boil and simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Place a cheesecloth over a bowl, then pour in the plums and water and drain for 20 to 30 minutes. Twist the cheesecloth once that time is up to remove any remaining juice.
  5. Pour juice back into the pot.
  6. Add the pectin and (if you’re using it) the butter, then bring to a rolling boil.
  7. Pour in your sugar, then return to a hard rolling boil for 1 minute, stirring when necessary.
  8. Take your pot off the heat, skim away any foam, then carefully ladle the hot mixture into jars.
  9. Either allow it to cool before storing in the fridge or leave a quarter inch of space in each jar and can them in a water bath.

How to Make Plum Wine

Rich, smooth, and an ideal project for first-time winemakers, plum wine is a wonderful after-dinner drink that’s perfect for using up a large crop of plums.

Ingredients:

  • 5 lbs. of Ripe Plums
  • 3 lbs. of Sugar
  • 16 Cups of Chlorine-Free Filtered Water
  • 1 Teaspoon of Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 Pack of Champagne Yeast

Recipe:

  1. Wash the plums, remove their stems, then place them in a large pot and break the skins with a potato masher.
  2. Pour boiling water over the plums, then put the lid on the pot and set it in a corner to cool.
  3. After 24 hours, stir in the sugar and lemon juice.
  4. Follow the instructions on your pack of yeast, then stir in and leave for an hour. Give everything a good stir to ensure it’s well mixed.
  5. Cover the pot and leave it somewhere warm for 4 to 6 days, mixing with a sanitized spoon once or twice a day. This is when the initial fermentation occurs.
  6. Filter out solids, then transfer the remaining liquid to your carboys. Top each carboy with an airlock, then leave in a cool dark place to ferment for two weeks.
  7. After two weeks, transfer wine into a clean jug and ferment for two further months to remove any spent yeast.
  8. Bottle your wine and age for at least 10 months until it develops a tasty mellow flavor.

How to Make a Plum Sauce

Serve this up hot or cold to add extra zing to egg rolls, pork, or chicken. It keeps well in the fridge and is insanely easy to put together once you’ve already made your plum jelly.

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz Plum Jelly
  • 2 Tablespoons of Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Dried Onion, Minced
  • 1 Teaspoon of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Garlic Clove, Minced
  • ½ Teaspoon of Ground Ginger

Recipe:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.
  2. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, then continue cooking and stirring until you reach the desired consistency.
  3. Allow to cool, then store in the refrigerator.

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It doesn’t matter if you’re indulging your sweet-tooth by picking up a single plum or hauling them home by the bushel to make jelly for your whole family to enjoy. Fetch can help you make the most of each and every grocery receipt. Download our handy grocery app today, start snapping your receipts, and treat yourself to fresh rewards!

Topics: Food and Drink, Shopping Lists


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