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Italian Prune Plum

FACTS

• The glory of the Italian Prune Plum lies in its size. Because it is small, and less juicy than other plums, when it is baked, it concentrates in flavor and texture, so that the fruit maintains more of its shape, and because there is less liquid, the flavor is more intense.

• European plums, (prunes or prune plums) are always freestone, meaning the flesh does not adhere to the pit, and they are also always blue or purple in color.

• European plums are smaller and firmer than the Japanese plums, and they are also sweeter and less juicy.

• This hardy plum is good for cooking and preserving.

pruneCOOKING & HANDLING TIPS

• Plums are ripe and ready to eat when they give off a sweet plum aroma and are soft to the touch.

• To remove the pit in freestone plums, cut along the seam of the plum to the pit, then twist each half in the opposite direction. The pit can then be easily cut out.

• Plums can be peeled easily by dropping them in boiling water for around 30 seconds and then immediately chilled in ice water. The skin of the plums will slip off like those of peaches or tomatoes done in a similar fashion.

• Even though plums are mostly consumed fresh, they are delicious sautéed or baked as a side dish for poultry and pork. They are also delicious in stuffing, jams, chutney, tarts, sauces and soups. Chefs often prepare plums with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, lemon, orange, orange liqueurs, brandy and ports.

STORAGE TIPS

• Store the plums at room temperature (between 51°F and 77°F) until fully ripened and ready to eat. To accelerate the ripening process when you bring them home, place the plums in a paper bag along with a ethylene producing fruit such as a banana, apple or pear.

• Once ripened, store the plums in the refrigerator until eaten but keep them away from ethylene producing fruit so they do not become over ripe.