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Plum

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Plums are plump, round and smooth with a depression at the top where the stem is attached. Their skin can be red, purple, or yellow. They resemble nectarines but are usually smaller.Dried plums are called prunes.Plums belong to the genus Prunus of the family Rosaceae.

Plums (Prunus domestica) date back to 479 B.C. where they are mentioned in the writings and songs of Confucius. In 65 B.C., Pompey the Great introduced the plum to Rome, and Alexander the Great eventually brought them to the Mediterranean.

Plums are now the second most cultivated fruit in the world, second only to apples.


Contents

[edit] Health benefits

Plums and prunes have a high content of unique phytonutrients called neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acid. These are classified as phenols, and they function as antioxidants.

These phenols are very effective in neutralizing a destructive oxygen radical called superoxide anion radical. They also prevent oxygen-based damage to fats that comprise a fairly large portion of our brain cells or neurons.

Plums increase absorption of iron into the body. They are also a very good source of vitamin C. Vitamin C assists in the absorption of iron and also helps to make healthy tissue and build a strong immune system. In addition it helps to protect cholesterol from becoming oxidized by free radicals as well as neutralize free radicals that contribute to the development of asthma, colon cancer, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

[edit] How to select and store

Select fruit that is not wrinkled and is free of blemishes, soft spots or discolorations. The grayish sheen on plums is desirable and does not affect their quality.

Plums can range in color from green to red to deep purple to black. The skin is edible but the pit is to be discarded.

Plums that are a little hard should be left at room temperature for a few days to soften up. However ripening will not make them any sweeter, unlike some fruits.

Ripe plums should be placed in a plastic bag and refrigerated. They should be used within four days. Wash just before using.

Plums and prunes can be frozen and used in pies and jams, or in salads and desserts.

[edit] To preserve plums

Always choose tree-ripened fruit of deep colo, wash them and then leave whole or cut in halves or quarters. They can be packed in many ways.

  • Pack whole fruit into containers, leaving 1/2 inch on top.
  • Pack cut fruit into containers and cover with cold syrup made with 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water. Leave 1/2 inch of space on top.
  • Select fully ripe fruit, wash, cut in halves, remove pits and puree.Pack into containers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Seal and freeze.

To make juice to be served in beverages, select ripe plums. For juice to be used for jelly making, select as recommended in specific jelly recipe. Wash plums, then simmer until soft in enough water to barely cover. Strain through a jelly bag. Cool. If desired, sweeten with 1 to 2 cups sugar for each quart of juice, depending on tartness of fruit. Pour into containers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Seal, label and freeze.

[edit] Serving ideas

Plums are delicious eaten by themselves. They also make excellent pies, tarts, compotes, crumbles, dumplings, sauces, mousses and souffl├ęs. They can be poached, baked and stewed but should be cooked until just tender as they will disintegrate.

Plums can be dried, crystallized and candied, bottled or made into wine and liquers. They also lend a good flavor to pork, lamb, duck, beef and poultry.

[edit] Useful websites

http://homecooking.about.com

http://www.bouquetoffruits.com

http://www.gardenworld.co.uk

http://www.whfoods.org



PLUM. Antibacterial. Anti-viral. Laxative.

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