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English plums
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tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44158
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 06 5:11 pm    Post subject: English plums  Reply with quote    

Seen Rivers Early and Herman about. Neither is fantastic but make a nice change from al the berries.

OP



Joined: 28 Jul 2006
Posts: 4661
Location: Yorkshire
PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 06 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Just bought some Opal plums from Sainsbury's. Some in the carton were picked a bit too green, but most are properly ripe and have the distinctive English plum flavour that the foreign ones never get near to.

onejohndog



Joined: 01 Mar 2005
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 06 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Have inhereted a thirty >forty year old plum in the house we moved into in Feb only realised what this was last month as it started dropping small plums has still got quite a bit of fruit on it and i am just hoping it comes to something.Any idea when to pick plums as they are still quite small and mainly green up here in the north east.

OP



Joined: 28 Jul 2006
Posts: 4661
Location: Yorkshire
PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 06 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

We are just getting into the English plum season, so the easiest way to tell is probably just to try eating some - I would guess another couple of weeks in the NE (my in laws are near Durham). Even if you have a cooking variety, you will still be able to taste the difference between ripe and under-ripe.

Colour is not necessarily a good guide since "green gages" are quite common in the UK, and these are green even when ripe (and reputed to have a good flavour). You will sometimes seem them in supermarkets, usually from France, and probably called something like "Reine Claude". The most obvious thing about a greengage is the shape - small, round, and definitely spherical. Most other plums in the UK are more of an oblong shape.

onejohndog



Joined: 01 Mar 2005
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 06 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

thats usefull as i half wondered ifthey could be greengages but they are not spherical and there is some tinging of purple, so i think they must be plums.

OP



Joined: 28 Jul 2006
Posts: 4661
Location: Yorkshire
PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 06 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

In that case, Victoria is the most likely candidate as it is far and away the most popular garden variety in the UK (although if it is 40 years old then it might be something more interesting). Not the best for eating fresh, but very good for cooking with. (And in any case far better than those "plums" that you get in supermarkets most of the year which are not from England/France).

Here is a photo:

http://www.keepers-nursery.co.uk/product.aspx?id=VICTOR

Penny Outskirts



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 23385
Location: Planet, not on the....
PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 06 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

orangepippin wrote:
Colour is not necessarily a good guide since "green gages" are quite common in the UK, and these are green even when ripe (and reputed to have a good flavour).


I remember, when I were a lass, we always had greengages in season. Never see them anymore, which is a shame, as they tasted delicious

sean
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 41914
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 06 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

You need to move somewhere with a decent greengrocer's.

Penny Outskirts



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 23385
Location: Planet, not on the....
PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 06 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

sean wrote:
You need to move somewhere with a decent greengrocer's.


Definitely! There isn't even a greengrocer's in Cirencester, let alone a decent one!

OP



Joined: 28 Jul 2006
Posts: 4661
Location: Yorkshire
PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 06 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

The easiest source of green gages will be the supermarkets, since the most ready supply comes from France (where they are called Reine Claude). Sainsbury's seem the most enterprising with plums, and should have some fairly soon. Obviously local would be better, but I think it is partly down to climate - gages need a bit more sun than ordinary plums.

chrissy



Joined: 20 Feb 2005
Posts: 238
Location: Pangbourne
PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 06 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

We're lucky to have a bit greengage tree, but not so lucky isnasmuch as it's too big to net, so the wasps will get the lot. They do have a wonderful flavour and stay very green.

marigold



Joined: 02 Sep 2005
Posts: 12458
Location: West Sussex
PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 06 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I bought some greengages in my local greengrocer today - yum! The only English plums they had were squishy and very resistable.

As a teenager I loved the "mirabellen" that grew in my German friend's garden in Stuttgart - does anyone know if are they the same as greengages or something different? I'm sure they were smaller than the greengages you get here, but it was a long time ago .

OP



Joined: 28 Jul 2006
Posts: 4661
Location: Yorkshire
PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 06 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

These are called Mirabelles in English, or cherry plums. They are related to plums but are a different species: prunus institia instead of our usual prunus domestica. They are part of the same group as damsons and bullaces. (Got this from the excellent Plums Directory by Martin Crawford).

The plums that are available year-round in supermarkets are also not the same species as our English plums, they are prunus salicina - popular with the supermarkets because they keep very well and can be transported without damage. Shame they taste like cardboard.

chrissy



Joined: 20 Feb 2005
Posts: 238
Location: Pangbourne
PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 06 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

This is good for ID-ing varieties Marigold. There are several Mirabelle.

http://www.webvalley.co.uk/brogdale/collectionplums.php

marigold



Joined: 02 Sep 2005
Posts: 12458
Location: West Sussex
PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 06 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thanks folks - maybe I'll plant one one day .

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