|Plum refers the edible fruit of the various trees belonging to the species Prunus salicina Lindl., of the family Rose (Rosaceae). Related to peach and cherry, plum is a stone, or drupe, fruit.
The common European plum (Prunus domestica L.) is probably originated in the region around the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea. It is purplish-blue in color. According to the earliest writings in which the plum is mentioned, the species is at least 2,000 years old. The European Prunus domestica is thought to be a hybrid of Prunus cerasifera (the cherry plum) and Prunus spinosa (the sloe).
According to some sources, the Chinese were probably the first to start cultivating plums. They were the species Prunus salicina Lindl., also known as Japanese plums. Larger, sweeter, and juicier, Japanese plums are more pointed at the ends, and have a sort of "orangey-red" color. They have been available in the United States since the late nineteenth century.
Another Old World plum species, probably of European or Asiatic origin, is the Damson plum (Prunus institia, Fries. ex M. Roem.). Ancient writings connect early cultivation of these plums with the region around Damascus. This drupe of the Prunus family was said to have been introduced into Greece from Syria or Persia by Alexander the Great himself. From Greece the plum spread throughout most of the temperate zones. In North America, wild plums were reportedly eaten by Native Americans prior to the arrival of the Europeans, and today the wild variety is still consumed, although mostly as jam or jelly. The European plum was planted in Massachusettes after an order was placed in 1629.
Today, plums grow wild almost everywhere in the United States, much of Canada, and throughout Europe and Asia. Plums are also the most extensively cultivated of the stone fruits. The fruit is grown over a wide region in Europe, from Italy on the south to Norway and Sweden on the north. Moldova, Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, and Germany also are important producers of plums in Europe. Turkey and China are leading countries in plum production in Asia.
Plum trees grow best in temperate regions, producing purple, red, orange, yellow, or light green fruit. Cold temperatures can brown the color and give the fruit an unappealing appearance. Most plums sold commercially are sweet and somewhat juicy, and vary in their crispness. Trees of some plum species reach a height from 6 to 10 metres, while others are much smaller. Some species are small shrubs with drooping branches.
As the fruit grows, the outer part of the ovary ripens into a fleshy, juicy exterior, making up the edible part of the fruit, and a hard interior, called the stone, or pit. The seed is enclosed within the stone. The fruits show a wide range of size, flavor, color, and texture.
In the United States and Europe the plum has long been recognized as one of the most delicious fruits. Among the stone fruits, the plum ranks next to the peach in commercial production.
Plums respond to good soil-management practices. As trees come into bearing, they do not require much pruning and in the home fruit garden can be grown satisfactorily if diseases and pests are controlled.
Among the leading plum varieties are the European plum, which is medium-sized and dark blue to red, with a thick skin and dull yellow flesh. This variety is often dried into prunes. Plum varieties that can be or have been dried without resulting in fermentation are called prunes. Such plums have firm flesh and contain a sufficiently high level of sugar, qualities that favor their being preserved by drying, which is done in dehydrators or in the sun. Dried prunes keep far longer than do fresh plums.
The Japanese plum can be purple, scarlet, or yellowish-green and is sweet and juicy.
Damson and Mirabelle plums make delicious jam but are quite tart.
Over 35 percent of the California plum harvest is of the Santa Rosa variety.
Casselman, Elephant Heart, El Dorado, Greengage, and Laroda are other popular varieties.
Plum season is June through September, peaking in July and August.
See also Food, Fruit, Prune.
|Plums are delightful eaten fresh, and can be stewed, used in jams and jellies, or made into compotes, puddings, pies, and cakes. Like pineapple, they are the sweet component of sweet-and-sour sauces, such as hoisin sauce, and are often served with meats. They can also be added to stuffing and stews. Use plums as a substitute in recipes calling for cherries. Mirabelle and prunelle plums are distilled commercially to make wine and brandy.
Choose plums that are tender to the touch and that have smooth, uniform skin. Look for those that retain the "bloom," a natural powder-like haze covering the fruit, since these are likely to have received the least handling. When plums are picked before they are ripe, they can be ripened at room temperature, or placed in a paper bag with an unripe banana for a day or two. In the refrigerator, ripe plums keep for about four days.
|Plum contains malic acid, citric acid, succinic acid, B-sitosterol, triterpene, vitamins B, B1, and C, etc.
Plum is used to treat tumor.
When water solution made of dark plum (1:1) was researched in laboratory, it was found that the solution inhibited many kinds of bacteria except streptococcus A and B. It also yielded anti-fungus action in vitro to a dilution of 1:480. Moreover, its solution also presented guinea pig form anaphylactic alock due to some allergin.