Types of Plums

Different Types Of Plums

The Plum, a relative of the nectarine, peach and almond, fall under the Prunus Genus of plants.  These fruits are called drupes because they have all have hard stone pits which are surrounded by seeds.  Plums are the juiciest of the stone fruits and come in a wide variety of types. Common characteristics are richly colored skins, usually with a cloudy bloom, a hard stone in the center and smooth flesh. 

Few fruits come in such a panorama of colors as the plum, ranging in hue from light yellow and green to red and deep purple.  Dried plums are called prunes.

The plum season typically starts in May and extends through October.  The Japanese types of plums come onto the market first, peaking towards August, and is followed by European varieties which are available during the fall season from mid-August to October.


As plums come in such a variety of colors, it is not a useful guide when gauging ripeness.  What to look for is smooth skin without any bruises and a cloudy bloom.  When opened the flesh should be firm  and give a little when gently squeezed.  You can check whether they are over ripe by feeling the point where the stem meets the dimple.  If they feel soft at this point, they are over ripe.  Avoid buying plums that are brown in color and appear shriveled, or have split skins.

If you are looking for fresh plums to eat raw, the sweet, juicy flesh of the following varieties make them a particularly good choice:

Victoria – with a yellowy-red skin
Santa Rosa or Burbank – a bright red variety
Denniston’s Superb – with a greeny-red skin
Black Amber – a bright yellow skinned plum.
When it comes to cooking plums and when it comes to using them in desserts its a good idea to choose the drier, tart tasting fleshy kinds of plums, for example:
Mirabelle, Quetsch, Czar and Cherry (a smaller version)
Ripe plums will keep well for three to four days at room temperature.  For longer storage, they can be put into perforated bags and kept in the fridge for up to five days.

Enjoy the wide variety of plums available for eating raw or for use in a wide variety of cooked dishes, including sweet and savory.  Plums are good for your health and the tart taste distinguishes them from their cousins in the peach family.