Volunteers are needed to help glean area plums this time of year. Mild winters, minimal rainfall during the growing season and low humidity conditions create productive crops. Oregon is a top grower of plums, second only to California in production in the United States. Eugene is fortunate to host many delicious varieties.
“Feel the fruit to determine its stage of ripeness. Fully ripe plums will feel slightly soft and yield to slight finger pressure. Gently apply pressure to the fruit with your thumb to check for softness. The skin will feel powdery, and the fruit will give off a pleasant aroma. Less ripe fruit will feel firm and smooth.” – gardenguides.com
Blue-black Italian prune-plums like “Blue Damsons” are best for drying. Yellow ones like “Yellow Egg” (oval) or “Shiro” (round) can make a tangy jam and are sweetest when soft. Red plums like “Santa Rosa” fruits have red skin, a slightly crisper texture and a sweet-tart taste lovely for eating fresh from the tree.
Store at room temperature until ripe, then refrigerate.
- Preserving Plums and Prunes: from the OSU Master Food Preserver Program