Monday, September 15, 2008

Welcome Fall: Sweet Plums

Plums 01a framed

To me, plums signalize that Fall is just around the corner. In Germany, plums start appearing in the stores around August and last till October. So when I see the delicious, purple colored fruit in the stores I know we are on the cusp of the seasons.

So, I welcome Fall, with a new banner to create the right atmosphere for my readers and look forward to celebrate the rich and colorful produce it offers.

Going to the Farmer’s Market or to my local organic store is always a great pleasure, but right now just as summer dwindles and fall takes control, it's pure bliss. How wonderful is the variety of fresh produce right now? I still see raspberries and peaches, stacked next to apples, pears and figs. There are those wonderful red tomatoes and green zucchini lined up next to the rainbow chard and pumpkins.

Plums are however, my current favorite. I recently bought a 2 kilo basket from my organic store and was in sweet heaven with each luscious bite I took. Two kilos of pure juicy fruit!

While we enjoyed most of them pure I did make several interesting creations with the plums. There are not many types of fruit that come in such a huge variety and colorful panorama as plums. Each variety tastes different, highlighting a wonderful array of flavors and versatility these fruit offer.

You will find that plum season extends from May through October depending where you are in the world. The Japanese varieties are the first in the markets, arriving in May and peaking in August. The European plums follow closely, from August and extend throughout Fall till October.

Plums are related to cherries, peaches and almonds and belong to the extensive Prunus family They are classified as stone fruits and believed to have originated in Asia. Plum trees have been cultivated all over the world since ancient times. It is reported that Native Americans consumed wild plums prior to the arrival of the Europeans and till today the wild variety is still consumed.

Temperate regions are where the plum trees grow best, producing purple, red, orange, yellow, or light green fruit. Colder temperatures may brown the color of the fruit , giving it an unappealing appearance.

Health Benefits

Plums and Prunes (dried form of plums) are high in unique phytonutrients called neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acid. These substances are classified as phenols, and their function as antioxidants has been well-documented.

Plums help to produce and absorb iron in the body, which leads to a better blood circulation, helping the growth of healthy tissues. This ability of plums and prune to make iron more available might be related to the high vitamin C content of this fruit. It’s always a good idea to get an additional dose of vitamin C during the colder “flu” season and plums offer a great source of vitamin C.

Studies have also shown that regular consumption of plums will prevent macular degeneration and any other infection of the eye in the long run. Although I was often told by my mum that carrots will keep my eyes bright, these studies prove that plums are the best way to keep my sight.

Researchers have also found that plums have anti-cancer agents that may help prevent the growth of cancerous cells and tumors in the body. Furthermore, eating plums also reduces chances of contracting a heart disease. Plums contain certain cleansing agents, which purifies the blood and also prevents complications of the heart.

We all know that plums and prunes are both effective laxatives, with prunes being the more effective of the two. The laxative action of both prune and prune juice could be explained by their high sorbitol content.

Selecting & Storing

Look for unwrinkled plums. Their skins should be smooth with no blemishes, soft spots or discolorations. The gray-white sheen on plums is perfectly normal, as a matter of fact it is an indication that the plums have not been excessively handled. Good quality plums will display a rich color and will yield to gently pressure. If you choose slightly firmer fruit to ripen at home, do not go for extremely hard plums. These are still immature and the full flavor of the fruit will probably not develop as desired.

You can easily ripen plums at room temperature, but as they mature quickly, make sure you check them daily to ensure they do not become overripe. Once they are ripe you can store plums in a plastic bag and place in your refrigerator. There they should last for 4-5 days.

Plums can also be frozen. Although I have not done this myself, I have read that it is advisable to remove their pits before freezing them.

Plums can be easily preserved as jams or jellies for use later. A great recipe idea you might enjoy is this plum cinnamon preserve.

If the plums have been in the refrigerator allow them to reach room temperature before eating them. This allows them to attain their full sweet juicy flavor.

To remove the pit all you need to do is cut the plum lengthwise, along the pit, gently twist off the sides in opposite directions. Finally, take he pit out. If the fruit is still a little hard and the pit does not come off easily, place the tip of a sharp knife under the pit and gently release it from the flesh.

To remove the skins for baking or poaching, the easiest method is to place them in boiling water for 20-30 seconds. Remove the fruit and run them under cold water to stop them from cooking further, then remove the skin with your fingers.

Enjoy these fruits to the fullest now. Although there are so many great recipes using plums, the best way however is to enjoy them pure.

Here is a sneak peak at a few scrumptious plum creations coming your way right here on WFLH. Stay tuned!

Plum Diptych

Hugs!


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

26 comments :

  1. Oh, I can hardly wait for these plum creations. I will stay tuned, as always!

    ReplyDelete
  2. what are those white thingies on the plum? i used to think those were pesticides or something but i see them on organic ones too. any idea?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love plums too... can't wait to check out the recipes for those delicious treats...

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love plums, looking forward to your recipes!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have had some of the varieties you mention - Kashmir has the green, yellow, and the red-purple kinds - all round shaped. I have never seen the oblong shapes like in your picture. Waiting to see what you created this time.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love plums!!! looking forward your creation!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ummmm!! love plummmmmmmmm!!
    I hv never seen this variety however!
    LOVE the banner!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am sure looking forward to that creamy one in the glass

    ReplyDelete
  9. lovely new banner....i too have never seen anything but round plums... cant wait to see what you whipped up...

    ReplyDelete
  10. Always enjoy these posts. I can relax now when eating plums, I love them and they're so good for me.
    I see plum focaccia but it's probably something else. Gorgeous photos.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Lovely banner! Since I don't have a "fall" I can enjoy it through your seasonal banner :)

    There are plums at our markets now, although imported (they are not grown here), so I can't wait to see what you have made with them!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks everyone for your comments.

    Lisa - lol! i hope i do not let you down!

    Nags - the white-gray sheen on the plums is nothing bad and certainly nothing to do with pesticide. as i mentioned in the article - it is moreover an indication that the fruit have not been over-handled or waxed.

    Sig - I have a feeling you will like at least one of my creations!

    Sara - stick around!

    Anita - these are typical German plums. while we get the round ones here in several varieties here too, i tend to go for these as they are organic and local plums.

    Vij - lol! you'll like them - i hope!

    Manasi, thank you glad you like the banner. these are German variety plums and taste sweet and delicious. are perfect for baking and desserts!

    Happy Cook - somehow I knew that would catch your attention LOL!

    Arundati - thank you! look forward to the creations in the coming weeks.

    Tanna - i enjoy writing them and researching for these posts too. ummmm - plum focaccia a great idea but not quite.

    Joey - i think it's what i would miss the most if i ever left Germany for more tropical countries. but like you said - hope you get the feeling of this lovely season here. i love having you around!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love fall and I love plums. What a perfect combination, right :D

    ReplyDelete
  14. I don't think I've had nearly enough plums this year!! I love to eat them plain, but I'm excited to see what recipes come!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I just posted on my blog about the arrival of autumn, haha!! For me, pumpkins signal the arrival; but after seeing your plums, I think THOSE signal the arrival for me now! :0)

    ReplyDelete
  16. I've been thinking of doing something with plums too. They're too lovely to resist!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I love plums! They are tasty plain but even better when they are dressed up in a dessert!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I keep meaning to buy those tiny plums now that they're at the store, but I always forget to plan a dessert for them. I love the photos and can't wait to see what you did with them

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am a big fan of plums too. Thanks for all the great info. Your upcoming dishes look so delicious, can't wait!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Yes, I plan on enjoying some very soon.

    ReplyDelete
  21. thanks for the comments!

    Ben - hmmn as I am currently freezing my errr - feet off I cannot say it's perfect. ;-) seriously though I do enjoy both a lot - when the temps do not sink so low!!

    Deborah - i love plums plain too - but the desserts I made were pretty darned good.

    VG - I relate pumkins with the month of October. Plums, chard etc. are all about September to me.

    Anita - I bought more plums yesterday- I think I am addicted.

    Maria, I love them plain - always first choice but I enjoy their versatility.

    Mike, well i hope my ideas will encourage you to buy those plums. ;-)

    Reeni - stay tuned!

    Pea - looking forward to seeing how you enjoy them!

    ReplyDelete
  22. What a cool picture - makes me want to go to my local Farmer's Market

    ReplyDelete
  23. What a good looking plums! We haven't grown an oval-shaped like these.

    I always freeze my plums and peaches with skin on eventhough they are stewed. They won't last though, because my hubby and kids keep taking them out of the freezer only a couple of weeks afterwards! We love stonefruits!

    ReplyDelete
  24. yes, noticed the new banner. love it. it's very warm and welcoming! HELLO FALL!! woo hoo!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Love the new banner and your love of those wonderful dark plums of the Fall.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I absolutely love the feel of these photos! Gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta