Plums are small, juicy fruits with a central stone inside. They come in a wide range of colours and varieties and are used in both savoury and sweet recipes.
British plums are available in late summer to early autumn, approximately August-October.
Look for plums that are shiny, free of cuts or bruises and are plump. They should be slightly soft to the touch, but not over-ripe. Because they are available in a wide range of colours, for example from pale yellow to deep red, don’t assume that the red ones are the ripest – try different varieties as some will be juicier and sweeter than others.
Wash the plums and place on a chopping board. With a sharp knife, make a cut around the plum, starting at the stalk and working down around the circumference to make two halves. Put the knife down and twist the two halves gently. They should come apart – with the stone left in one of the halves. Just pick out the stone and the plum is ready to be used in your recipe, or eaten as it is. Plums are often cooked and used in fruit crumbles and pies or roasted and served with ice cream. In Chinese cookery, plums are simmered to make a sweet sauce that can be served with meats such as duck or pork. Plums are also a great fruit to use for making jam.
Plums will keep in the fridge for about 4-5 days, in a paper bag. For the fullest flavour, take them out of the fridge and leave on the kitchen worktop for 30 minutes before serving, as they are best enjoyed at room temperature.