Last Updated on 21st April 2022 by Pauline
Before plums become ripe, they are slightly bitter and tough. Then, as they ripen, they become softer and sweeter, at which point they can be used in pies, jams, jellies, and other tasty dishes.
Unlike apples or peaches, most people don’t have much idea of what to do with ripe plums besides eat them plain. Most people don’t know many dishes can be made with plums, which is unfortunate since there are so many great uses for plums.
I want to share with you some ideas for what to do with excess plums you have lying around and that you don’t want to spoil. There are some really special dishes you can make that you may love so much that you keep extra plums on hand throughout the year just to make these again.
Plum Chow Chow
If you have un-ripened plums that are not sweet yet, there are a few ways you can use them. You can put them in a glass jar and pickle them to make plum pickles. Or you can cut them up into small slices and soak them in pepper sauce and salt for an easy chow chow dish. You can also make chow chow using peppers, tomatoes, vinegar, salt, and cabbage too, if you want to go all out.
Did you know that you can grill plums and use them as a garnish for salads or eat them plain? Lightly grilling plum slices until they are blackened yields a pleasantly crunchy plum that is still sweet and flavourful. Be sure to brush it with some olive oil or other oil before you cook it to keep it from burning
Plums make for a great garnish for your ice cream or salad once they have been caramelised. You just need to slice them into wedges and cook them over low heat with a little honey. This makes them even sweeter and gives you a lovely garnish that’s so good you might want to eat it on its own.
What to do with fresh plums if you don’t want to eat them whole? You can cut them into small slices and add them to your cake batter. Any cake you make may benefit from a few pieces of plum in there, gently folded into the batter to give it the benefit of fruity flavour.
You can make your own plum sauce from underripe plums. Simply puree them in just a little water or some red pepper jelly. This makes for a great glaze that can be used on duck, roasted chicken, or kebabs. Add seasonings and spicy pepper to make your sauce extra special.
It’s a little more work than the other ideas here, but plum crisp is a great dessert or breakfast dish. You want to use fully ripened plums for this, and I think they are best suited for making a crisp when they are still firm and have not yet become mushy. This sweet dish is great with some whipped topping as a garnish or served with ice cream.
What to Do with Mushy Plums
When you have plums that are starting to get too soft, they might not taste very appealing. The texture changes and their flavour can change as well. That’s probably not the kind of plum you want to eat raw, but what can you do with it?
I suggest breaking it down into a lovely plum jam. It’s already starting to get mushy, so why not mash it up and create a pleasantly sweet jam? You can also use them in plum pudding and anything else that calls for mashed or pureed plums. I like mine in smoothies as well, and there are lots of different ways to use them once they start to get mushy.
Now that you know what to do with overripe plums, let’s talk about how to speed up the process of ripening. You can let them sit out the counter if you want them to ripen faster than they would in the fridge. Exposure to air helps the ripening process. What helps even more is if you place them into a paper bag. The material around them will make your plums ripen quickly.
How do you tell if plums are no longer good, though? You should look for telltale signs like the presence of larvae inside. If you cut open plums and see bugs crawling around, you need to toss those plums out.
You can use softened, ripened plums for jams, jellies, and more, but how do you know when they are too ripe? If the plum is leaking at all, it needs to be tossed out and if it is mushy all over, it should probably be tossed too.
In the fridge, plums can last for up to five days, but at room temperature, they may only last up to three days. These are just estimates, though, because you may not have any idea how long they were in the store before you bought them. When you buy plums, check them for firmness, and unless you plan to use mushy plums for something, only buy ones that are firm. Those will last the longest and will be more likely to taste fresh when you eat them.
What to Do with Frozen Plums?
You can keep plums frozen for months with the right storage method. Keeping plums in an airtight, freezer-safe container allows them to stay viable for a while, but what can you do with the frozen plums?
You can mix them into the blender for a smoothie or thaw them out in the fridge and make any dish that calls for plums. Frozen plum pieces can be good in ice cream as well, mixing it into vanilla or a fruity ice cream for a tasty surprise.
Do you have a few ideas for what to do with plums now? I hope you feel inspired to put yours to good use, and this is really just a sampling of all you can do with these versatile, sweet fruits.