Sugar Plums (French Prunes)

August – early September from California

The French Prune also known as Sugar Plum is the perfect example of “All prunes are plums, but not all plums are prunes.” Plums have a clingstone in the center and prune plums are freestone. The French Prune and its cousin the Italian Prune is popular throughout Europe and Scandinavia. The water to meat ratio makes them ideal for cooking because they fully maintain their shape. The Europeans use them in several pastries and bread and as an accompaniment to pork and fowl. They make the perfect glaze sauce for duck breast and are fantastic in an arugula salad with toasted slivered almonds. The Scandinavians use them in sweet breads and breakfast pastries. This prune plum is very versatile, and the list of its culinary capabilities goes on. Of course, eating them by the handfuls is also a favorite. Grown in the northern part of the state and in Oregon Sugar Plums have been a local favorite for over 150 years in California.

Select Sugar Plums that are firm for cooking and softer for out of hand eating. As you can see from the photo, one of the prunes is slightly shriveled. Don’t shy away from them when you encounter them in this condition, this is when they are slightly dehydrated and very sweet. Look for Sugar Plums – Italian or French Prunes from late August through the month of September.

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Dan The Produce Man

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