A Field Guide to Plums

We know, at this point we’re going to sound like some plum-obsessed fetishist, but we can’t help it. There are so many ripe plums all over Wallingford, we gorge ourselves every time we step out and still there’s room for more.

One nice thing about the plum abundance is that there are so many different varieties, coming ripe at different times, so it seems like there will be no end of our plumocopia. We offer, therefore, Wallyhood’s Field Guide to Plums, to help you know what it is you’re eating. For a variety of recipes involving plums, check out the comments section of our recent Wallingford Plum Soup post (and add your own!)

GreengagesGreengage (or Reine Claude): Wikipedia says: “It is identified by its small, oval shape, smooth-textured flesh, and ranging in colour from green to yellow, grown in temperate areas. They are known for their rich, confectionery flavour that causes them to be considered one of the finest dessert plums.”

We think some of these are growing, grafted onto an Italian plum tree, at our neighbor Jeremy and Emily’s, near 4th Ave NE and 42nd.

Cherry Plums Cherry Plums (also called Myrobalan): These are small, the size of very large cherries and early blooming.

You can find them in creating a tunnel over the sidewalk in front of the dilapidated house several up from the corner of 42nd St on Latona Ave NE. All the plums in easy grabbing distance have been eaten, but there are tons in the tree still. They’re juice bombs, so bring a bib.

Prunuscerasifera1 Purple Leaf Leaf Plum: We’re pretty sure there’s one of these on the corner of 43rd and Thackery, and maybe over on the side of the Wallingford post office, but it’s hard to say. There are certainly purple-leafed trees with plum-like fruit on them. We took a bite and they tasted plum-like, but we were hesitant, old injunctions about eating unknown berries from trees loomed. Also, the on-line descriptions say the fruit is edible “for wildlife”.

Yellow Plum Yellow Gold Plums: We had some trouble learning much about this one on-line, and aren’t quite sure even about the name (except that it’s quite clearly yellow-gold in color). These are the ridiculously sweet, spicy plums we made our soup from and we found them on NE 43rd St and Thackeray.

In the process of our investigation, we came across this idea for a plum martini. It doesn’t actually look like a martini to us, more like a daiquiri, but it does look delicious. And fortunately for us, we’ve got frozen golden yellow plum puree in the freezer, ready to for blending. (Photo by Adem Akdoğan)

Italian Prune Plums Italian Prune Plums These seem to be the most common plums of Wallingford. John and Lesli next door to us have a tree, as do Jeremy and Emily around the corner. There are likely some near you.

They’re not quite ripe yet, though, give them another week. When they are ripe, there will be more than you know what to do with. Last year, we harvested buckets, cut them in have, gave them a quick twist to free the pit and then froze them to use in smoothies throughout the winter.

We know there are more varieties out there that we can’t ID (for example, where Thackery tees out into 42nd, set between two pear trees, there’s some sort of ruby-colored one). If you’ve got the info, please share!

  1. Jenny said,

    This month’s Everyday Food magazine — one of our favorite sources of tasty, quick, healthful weeknight meals — spotlights plums in the “In Season” section and includes three or four plum recipes (pun intended). My 17-month-old and I made the plum cake yesterday (I filled cups and spoons with ingredients; she got to dump them into the bowl — it was toddler heaven), and it is both easy and delicious. Last month’s issue had a plum-ginger relish that looked yummy too.

    (Everyday Food is one of those little half-sized magazines you usually find near the checkout aisle at the grocery store.)


    Tue, August 25 at 11:22 am
  2. HooHooTwo said,

    We are sad that our Italian prune-plum tree has a very light crop this year. If anyone has more of these plums than they can use, we’d be happy to pick them and even make some of them into a delicious crisp for you! Can you help a prune-plum challenged family?

    Tue, August 25 at 7:17 pm
  3. Carolyn said,

    “Reine Claude”? Really? How perfect for Seattle!

    Tue, August 25 at 7:26 pm
  4. Tobin said,

    Hey HooHooTwo, I am likely to have more than I can use. They are still a couple weeks from being ripe though. Contact me if you are intested: [email protected]

    Thu, August 27 at 11:41 am
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