Okanagan Plum Varieties
There are more than 10 Okanagan plum varieties grown here in the valley, and they are generally available
from the beginning of August until the end of September.
There are basically three different types of plums,
including European plums, Italian plums, and Japanese plums.
Different varieties are found within each type, and come in a variety of colors,
different texture and levels of sweetness.
A good example is the common Damson plum, or Prunus domestica,
which once cooked with sugar develops a deliciously pleasant spicy flavor.
Also very common are prune plums, which are a good all around plum, and a popular fruit for drying.
Some plums are better for eating fresh, while others are better for baking, stewing, freezing, or other forms
Different varieties you can get include Shiro, Santa Rosa plum, Gold, Beauty, Damson,
Blufre, Yellow Egg, Green Gage, and Friar.
Early Italian Prune Plums
The early Italian prune is one of the first Okanagan plum varieties harvested in the valley.
They have a deep purple skin and a yellow-greenish flesh that turns a dark wine color when cooked.
The fruit is large, has a rich flavor, and is very sweet when fully ripened,
but is less juicy than other types of plums.
It is excellent eaten fresh, dried or as canned prunes.
Early Italian plums are an excellent choice for use in sauces, crisps, tarts, baked goods and jams.
These are generally available in the Okanagan beginning mid August.
Late Italian Prune Plum
Very similar to the early Okanagan plum varieties, Late Italian prunes seem to be the most popular plum prunes around.
Late Italians are a large size prune plum, and have a dark purple skin with a greenish yellow flesh.
They have an excellent sweet flavor.
They are well used for fresh eating, canning or drying, and also add
delicious sweet flavor to plum desserts, and fresh fruit salads with plums.
And one of our favorite ways to use Italian plums is in a nice easy coffee cake recipe.
Italian prune plums also keep fairly well because they contain less water,
and more natural sugar than other plum varieties.
Late Italian prune plums are usually available in the Okanagan Valley around late August.
Blufre (Blue Free) Plums
Damson plums, a European variety, are also known as "Damask Plums", which originated
from the Black Sea and central Russia areas.
These plums are a small, round shaped, smooth plum, with a shiny deep black to
purple-black skin and amber flesh.
Damson Okanagan plum varieties have a very strong tart taste and are
not good for fresh eating, but they are the most common plum types used for
making plum jam, jellies, syrups, and different plum preserves.
They can also be stewed and used in pies, tarts, and ice creams.
The tartness of Damson plums makes them especially suitable for savory dishes such
as lamb, pork, or other meat dishes such as a delicate Moroccon beef stew.
Damson's ripen fast and quickly become over-ripe, so they need to be stored in a cooler
for only a day or two, between 0° - 2° C (32° - 36° F).
The plum types are generally available in the Okanagan Valley beginning in early to mid August.
Green Gage Plums
Blufre (or 'Blue Free') plums are a dark blue-black with a firm, greenish yellow flesh.
These plum types are of the European plum types, and have an excellent sweet flavor.
They especially offer a sweet juicy bite when eaten freshly ripened.
They are excellent when prepared in desserts like plum pudding, plum pie or in homemade plum cobbler
(together with apples is delicous!).
Blufre plums are generally available in the Okanagan Canada beginning early to mid August.
Yellow Egg Plums
Green Gage plums are a European variety, and are a favorite plum for cooking, canning and making homemade plum jam.
They are a small to medium oval fruit, yellowish green in color, with a rich, golden flesh.
These plum types are sweet and aromatic, and have an excellent full-bodied flavor.
When cooked, Green Gage plums change into a preserve that is pink with an orange tinge.
They make the most beautiful red jelly with a wonderful distinctive taste.
Green Gage plum types are also excellent in desserts like a plum tart recipe or for
cooking plum butter, and are also a nice experience when eaten fresh.
They are available in the Okanagan Valley around mid August.
Japanese Beauty Plum
Yellow Egg is an outstanding European plum with large, oval, golden fruit.
The plum is a rich golden yellow color, and the flesh is yellow and very juicy,
popular among Okanagan plum varieties.
They are tart when first picked, but a rich, sweet flavor when fully ripe.
Yellow Eggs are good for fresh eating, especially when tree ripened, and they also
make nice canned plums, plum sauce and are delicious in a plum pudding recipe.
They also break down quickly during cooking, and therefore make a wonderful homemade plum jam.
A higher sugar content in these plum types makes it possible to sun-dry the fruit
without having it ferment at the pit.
Yellow Egg plums usually have a later harvest season, usually beginning in later August.
Since this fruit must be picked hard and at least one week prior to ship to market,
store bought Yellow Egg plum taste is poor at best.
Black Amber Plum
Most Japanese plums are classed as cooking plums but they can also be eaten fresh as dessert plums.
The Beauty Plum is a medium size plum with bright red skin and amber tinged red flesh.
These Okanagan plum varieties are the richest flavored Japanese plums, and make a beautiful red plum jelly.
They are an excellent choice for plum sauce recipes, and delicious in plum desserts.
The fruit taste is sweet, with a a wonderful blend of flavors that melt in your mouth.
As a fresh fruit it's very juicy with a slightly tart skin.
These plum types do not keep very well, and are best when eaten freshly ripened.
Japanese Beauty plums are available in the Okanagan Valley generally beginning early August.
Black Amber is a large beautiful black plum, that is primarily used for puddings, pies and in plum sauce recipes.
They are also superb for eating fresh, added to a fresh fruit salad and in homemade pies.
Black Ambers are one of the best Japanese purple plum types.
Tree ripened Black Amber plums have a beautiful fragrance with a slightly floral bouquet.
Black Amber Okanagan plum varieties are a round fruit, black on the outside, and firm dark amber purple on the inside.
Because Black Ambers have such a dark black skin it can be hard to judge just when they are ripe, but they
should have a slight give to them when applying a gentle pressure.
A very high quality of all Okanagan plum varieties, with a sweet delicious flavor,
Black Ambers are generally available in the Okanagan Valley near mid August.
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