After living in Mexico for a while, I’ve developed a love for tropical and exotic fruits – strange shapes, smells, and flavors I’ve never encountered. I’d quickly forgotten about some of my favorite fruits from California where I grew up–like plums.
Since I’ve come back to visit my family for a bit, I’ve rediscovered some of my childhood favorites. With the dog days upon us, some of my favorite fruits begin to come into season. Strawberries and melons are summer fruit standards for me. But what I really love is stone fruit. Stone fruits as they are known are fruits that have large seeds in the center often called “pits” or “stones”.
Stone fruits come into season in the beginning to middle of summer. Peaches, apricots, and cherries all have pits surrounded by a firm, but juicy flesh. However, my favorites of the family are nectarines and plums.
I’m fortunate enough to be staying with my little brother. He’s fortunate enough to have one living plant in his front yard and that is a Santa Rosa Plum tree. Santa Rosa Plums are delicious. They have a thin skin and juicy, but firm flesh surrounding the pit. They are aromatic with a slightly tart and sweet flavor.
As they ripen they turn a from a green-gold to a deep purple. The flesh inside also changes from a beautiful warm gold and begins to change to a deep purple close the skin. As the color changes, so do the flavors. They are sour when they are young, but get very sweet the longer they stay on the tree. When they are fully mature the fruit is very deep purple–nearly black sometimes. The fruit is covered by a light film. It looks like a grey dust. This is a natural protectant of the fruit. It wipes off easy and is okay to eat.
A tree this size–about 12″ in diameter– gave off about 600 pieces of fruit. It’s remarkable how abundant nature is. Mid-season so many plums fall from the tree, it’s hard to keep them picked up. It’s important to harvest them continuously through the short season so you don’t waste any fruit. My favorite way to eat plum is to wait for it to fall from the tree to the ground. When it hits, it splits the skin open. You can smell the floral aroma waft from inside. When it plops to the ground, it also bruises one side, so you have a contrast of bruised fruit that is soft and firm flesh on the other side. And to top it off, they are warm from the summer sun. Never miss your chance for a fresh plum.
Plums make the perfect summer snack. They are great with breakfast, on a picnic, or served over ice cream. I always carry my Cuisinart paring knife in my bag so I can share fruit with others.