There is rarely a time when the large bowl in my kitchen is not filled with whatever fruity delights are in season. And when I’m worn out by my travels, it’s a delicious piece of fruit that I crave more than anything else to restore my good humor.
Of the many different types of fruit I love, it is the appearance of sweet, juicy plums at my local farmers’ market that excites me the most. This is not only because they are so good when eaten raw, but also because I love to cook with them.
I definitely picked up some new ideas for my kitchen from Iron Chef Symon and his recent challenger, Chef Tio, and I hope they will inspire you too to make even more of the huge variety of plums available today.
What are plums?
Plums, or prunus domestica, are part of the family of drupe fruits. This is a genus of plant where the seed is protected by a hard shell and, just like plums, includes peaches, cherries and almonds.
Simon breaks down the Secret Ingredient
We’re teaming up with food and garden bloggers to host Summer Fest 2012, a season-long garden party. In coming weeks, we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. Today, we’re exploring plums.
Nothing says summer like plump plums, bursting with juicy sweetness at every bite. From yellow to green to red to purple, hundreds of plum varieties exist and it’s hard to resist enjoying them straight from the market. But when they do happen to make their way into your kitchen, uneaten, a plum-stained dessert is the perfect way to impress your friends and family any night of the week.
Before you get cooking, be sure to choose plums that give slightly to palm pressure, avoiding cracks, soft spots or brown discolorations.
Hosting a barbecue? Finish on a sweet note with easy-to-make grilled plums. Try Bobby’s Grilled Plums With Spiced Walnut Yogurt or Rachael’s Balsamic Glazed Grilled Plums With Vanilla Ice Cream. Either way, grilled plums — and grilled fruits of all kinds — will quickly become a summer staple.
Get more plum recipes from family and friends
Every week, Alex Guarnaschelli, host of Alex’s Day Off, shares with readers what she’s eating — whether it’s from the farmers’ market or fresh off the boat, she’ll have you craving everything from comfort food to seasonal produce.
I love plums. I am always impressed with their sweet flesh and slightly tangy skin. However, I am also often disappointed with their texture — sometimes pasty, mealy and overly firm. Here is my solution: I buy under-ripe plums and toss thin slices with roasted beets or cherry tomatoes. I appreciate the almost green, tangy flavor the plums have. When I find riper, but firmer plums, I enjoy a recipe like the one below. The vinegar adds a surprising brightness to the flavor.
Get the recipe for Cinnamon-Ginger Plums »