Empress Plums for Healthy Snacking

By: Pittman & Davis | On: | Category: Fruit Information

Plum season is almost here, and that means it’s almost time to get your order of tangy-sweet, delectable Empress Plums from Pittman & Davis! You won’t want to delay, either, since our plums are only available during the month of September.

“But wait a minute,” you might be wondering. “Haven’t I been seeing plums in the produce section of my grocery store all summer?”

Well, yes, you probably have – like peaches and nectarines, plums are a summer stone fruit, and many varieties are available right now. But there are two very good reasons as to why our plums are only available for a limited time:

  1. Our fruit standards are so high. The fruit you’ll find in your local chain grocery may be good, but what you order from us is always the best available. Did you know that the younger the tree, the sooner it produces fruit? That means that the fruit you buy from the grocery store at the start of the season was probably harvested from a young tree. Start-of-season fruit is never as sweet as mid-season fruit, and fruit from young trees isn’t as sweet as fruit from mature trees. We only choose peak-season fruit for our customers, so you get the best fruit available every time. Plus, we ship our fruit out to you as soon as possible after its picked – it never sits in a distribution center, which means you get that farm-to-table freshness grocery store fruit lacks.
  2. Empress Plums are a rare find in conventional grocery stores. There are almost two dozen varieties of plums grown commercially, but the Empress Plum is a specialty item that’s in a class by itself! Also known as Italian Plums, prune plums, and cooking plums, the Empress Plum is a small drupe that shows up in late summer/early fall. It stands out from other plums because it’s less round and more oval-shaped. The skins are thin (meaning you don’t have to peel these plums before cooking with them) with a purply-blue color. Inside, the yellow flesh is firm but juicy (yet not too juicy) and sweet with a hint of tartness. Empress Plums are excellent for cooking and turn an appealing, bright-fuchsia color when heated. Empress Plums are the best plums to use when making dried plums (which is why one of their names is “prune plums”). Empress Plums aren’t easily found in conventional grocery stores, so you’ll have to look for them in a specialty store or farmer’s market (or plant your own tree!). The good news is that we offer them every September!

Cooking with Empress Plums

Empress Plums are healthy snacks eaten fresh out of hand (delicious and refreshing, too!), but they’re also the best plum variety when it comes to cooking.

Raw plums are a treat when sliced into salads or added to your morning cereal, but, like peaches, nectarines and other stone fruits, they can be grilled, stewed, added to muffins and breads, made into crumbles and cobblers or baked into tarts and pies, where they’re wonderfully sweet (but not too sweet). And there’s nothing like spreading plum jam over your morning toast!

In addition to their many sweet applications, Empress Plums also make a wonderful addition to savory dishes – and have for centuries, in fact. Lamb stew made with dried, European-style plums (like the Empress Plum) is a Moroccan specialty, in fact, and plums also go well with roast pork, chicken and other meats. Plums are an especially good complement to a tenderloin – you can even use them as a topping for baked salmon fillets in place of lemon slices.

Empress Plums are a Superfood

Healthy fruits are an important part of any diet, but the low-calorie plum is especially good because it’s a nutritional powerhouse.

Plums and prunes have long been used to treat constipation because they’re packed with dietary fiber, which helps keep your digestive system running smoothly in general. Plus, the high fiber and water content in plums fills you up so your hunger is more easily satisfied, meaning that making plums a regular part of your diet can help you control your weight better. Plus, that high water content (83% of the fruit, in fact) helps keep you hydrated.

Plums are a rich source of potassium, a mineral that helps regulate your blood pressure. Shown to help reduce bad cholesterol levels, plums play a role in keeping your heart and cardiovascular system healthy and reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Suppose eating a little fruit could help you look younger and keep you from getting cancer? Well, plums are one of those little fruits: packed with antioxidants, they protect your body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals, helping to prevent the development of cancerous cells and premature aging of the skin as well as bolstering up your immune system to keep you from getting sick.

Finally, plums are excellent sources of vitamins C, A, B, E and K, as well as magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and phytonutrients. They’ve been linked to recovery from anemia, exhaustion and exercise fatigue. They may even help improve your memory!

So, do something good for your body (as well as your taste buds) by ordering Empress Plums before the season is over!

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