Plums on a wooden board and a bowl and jar of jam

What’s fresh in June? Plums

Expand your meals with the versatility of these delightful fruits.

Story By Bailey Gilliam

Plums have a storied heritage, traced back to Neolithic times through archaeological discoveries, highlighting their longstanding role in human diets. Originating from ancient China over two millennia ago, plums have spread globally, integrating into diverse culinary traditions and becoming a staple in contemporary cooking and wellness practices. This month, dive into the rich palette of flavors, health advantages and culinary uses of this understated fruit.

Selecting the best 

Here are three types of plum trees to consider:

Gulf Beauty: Suitable for warmer climates.Produces large, sweet plums.

Methley: Suitable for Southern climates. Self-pollinating with small and medium plums.

Santa Rosa: Adapts well to warm climates. Plums are large with red skin and yellow flesh. 

Fresh prunes in olive bowl on jute. Ripe plums sprinkled in background.

Health benefits 

Plums are more than their well-known role as a dietary fiber source; they are nutrient powerhouses. Containing over 15 vitamins and minerals, alongside significant amounts of fiber and antioxidants, plums are especially rich in polyphenol antioxidants. These compounds help reduce inflammation and lower the risk of chronic diseases. Studies have shown that plums can improve blood sugar control and promote cardiovascular health by potentially reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Not just your grandparents’ remedy

Often overshadowed by their fresh counterparts, prunes (dried plums) have remarkable health benefits, particularly in enhancing digestive health and bone strength. Research indicates that prunes surpass even psyllium, a common fiber supplement, in treating mild to moderate constipation. They are a valuable source of boron, which supports bone health and reduces osteoporosis risks.

selective focus. Ripe blue purple plums in the plum garden. Agriculture Haversting background. manny ripe fruits in plantation. Ripe plums in orchad.

Choosing and storing 

When selecting plums, look for slight softness, unblemished skin and a deep color indicative of ripeness. Plums should feel heavy for their size, a sign of juiciness, and have a pleasant aroma. Store unripe plums at room temperature and ripe ones in the refrigerator to prolong freshness.

Growing your own

Plums are part of the rose family, alongside cherries, peaches and apricots. These stone fruits require minimal upkeep once mature. If you’re considering planting, early spring is ideal. Young trees take about three to six years to bear fruit, so patience is essential. Proper care includes adequate sunlight, regular watering and strategic pruning to prevent disease and encourage growth. Thinning is crucial for maintaining the health and productivity of plum trees. This practice involves removing some fruits early in their development to prevent overburdening branches and to enhance the quality of the remaining plums. Typically performed a month after blooming, thinning helps ensure a robust harvest.

Choosing and storing 

When selecting plums, look for slight softness, unblemished skin and a deep color indicative of ripeness. Plums should feel heavy for their size, a sign of juiciness, and have a pleasant aroma. Store unripe plums at room temperature and ripe ones in the refrigerator to prolong freshness.

Culinary uses

Plums are incredibly versatile in the kitchen. Whether eaten fresh, cooked or used as a component in dishes, they offer a unique flavor profile. From savory salsas to sweet desserts, plums can enhance a wide range of recipes. Remember to wash them before use to remove any residue, and enjoy their vibrant taste in your meals.

Explore the culinary flexibility of plums with these simple methods:

Sauté: In a medium saucepan, warm 2 tablespoons of butter and any desired flavors over medium-high heat until it begins to turn slightly golden, about 2-3 minutes. Add sliced plums and cook over medium heat until the plums slightly soften, about 5 minutes.

Bake: Bake plums in a little wine or other liquid at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes in a baking dish covered with foil, stirring halfway through.

Grill: Place halved plums cut side down on a hot grill. Cover and cook until they’re grill-marked and heated through for about 5 minutes.

Air fry: Air fry at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, turning halfway through.

Plum jam

Plum jam in a jar. In the background there are plums. Tkemali sauce. Preparing for winter. Light background. Copy space.


9 ounces plums (4 medium plums) 

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 pinch cinnamon

1 pinch ground cloves

1 pinch ground ginger


[1] Halve the plums and remove the stones, then roughly dice them. Make the pieces relatively small so any pieces of skin are small. [2] Put the plum pieces, sugar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan along with the cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Place over a medium heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring the jam to a simmer, reduce the heat and simmer 5-10 minutes. Mash the plums as they soften to break them up more. [3] Remove the pan from the heat, allow to cool a minute and then skim off any foam. Transfer to your prepared clean jar and put the lid on while still hot. Leave to cool. [4] Transfer the jam to a clean jar and cover. 


Simple roasted plums

Chicken thighs and plums in ginger, honey and red wine sauce with thyme


2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

4 ripe but firm red plums, washed, halved and pitted


[1] Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together syrup, olive oil, cinnamon, vanilla, cloves and salt. Add plums to the bowl, and toss well with your hands to coat. [2] Arrange plums in a single layer on the prepared tray, cut side down. Drizzle the remaining liquid from the bowl over all. Bake for 5 minutes. Turn plums over with tongs, and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Spoon any pan juices on the plums. Serve as a side dish for chicken and pork or as a dessert with ice cream.

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