plums in N. California good for preserving?

gigelus2k13September 4, 2013


Is there any plum cultivar avaliable in the SF Bay Area that bears sweet fruit that is freestone and not too juicy?

I'm looking for something similar to the serbian plum, which, in the original habitat, matures in late September or early October, and has enough natural sweetness so that I don't have to add any sugar when reducing it to "plum butter".

I've been making plum preserve ("magiun de prune") for a few years now but all the plums I can get here, in stores or farmer's markets, are very juicy (not a good thing when you have to reduce them) and not sweet enough. Including things like "friar's plum" or italian.

Besides, the only plum tree I saw being cultivated in my neighborhood is bearing round, pale-blue and very watery fruit that ripens in early August, not suitable for preserving.

What plum varieties grow here that mature later in the season?


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Serban, I grow Italian plums and they are far from a juicy japanese variety. They make excellent jam, preserves, pruneaux and butter. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 6:15PM
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Serban - was your 'serbian plum' a purple or green/yellow colored fruit?

When I visited Slovenia some years ago (visiting my wife's kin) I saw growing everywhere a pale yellow/green colored plum that they made preserves and brandy from, but also a fair number of purple plums used for the same purpose. It was in July, too early to taste the fruits unfortunately. I believe that the purple plum was similar to the Pozegaca plum listed on page 3 of the Raintree catalog of European plums linked below. The yellow/green plums looked somewhat like the Golden Transparent Gage plum on page one, though I am certain it was not that plum. Good luck with your search!

Here is a link that might be useful: European plums in Raintree catalog

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 9:20AM
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Thanks for the replies.

@MrsG47: I'll keep looking for good italian in my area, although I never found one sweet enough. My last year's butter batch (which used italians) needed one lb of table sugar for each 6lbs of fresh fruit to hit the sour-sweet overtones I'm looking for.

@eboone: the plums I am talking about are elongated, with a blue-white powder coating and their flesh is deep orange. Because they're maturing so late in the season they have less water content and a sweet, firm flesh.



    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 1:21PM
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The Pozegaca (what a name!) seems to fit the description. Firm, orange flesh, high sugar content, stays in the tree after maturing. Too bad I have never seen them sold in stores or at farmer's markets...

Here is a link that might be useful: Pozegaca

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 1:48PM
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Well, now you know where to get one to grow your own!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 4:58PM
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    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 10:53AM
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I don't have a still (are they even legal in CA?). Interested strictly in plum butter (on freshly baked bread - nirvana!)

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 1:46AM
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alan haigh

Check Raintree and Trees of Antiquity nurseries for their selection of European plums. Most prune plums get up very high sugar- it's just a question of what will do best in your maritime climate. Neal of T of A can certainly help with that question. Raintree deals with it as well.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 11:36AM
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@harvestman: thank you for the reply. I asked Raintree about it and will probably get a qualified answer by early next week.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 12:46AM
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alan haigh

Should have typed out Trees of Antiquity. Always like to promote nurseries owned and operated by people of the soil who grow their own trees.

I had the pleasure of meeting the owners of both nurseries at a NAFEX-RARE Fruit Growers meeting in Santa Cruz about ten years ago. They are both very nice and seemingly ethical people but Neal is a real grower.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 7:02AM
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