Grilled Peaches & Plums | Plum Pasta Salad | Adding the plums
Credit: @joefoodie on flickr | Jeremy Bronson on flickr | Maggie Hoffman on flickr (all 3 photos are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

No sugar plums, plum jam, or plum pudding in this article - too much work. And plum season is July through October where I live (not December).

You literary types might recall the slang term "Plummy and Slam" from Oliver Twist by Guy Williams and Charles Dickens. Most sources feel it means all right or all was right. In fact, it was an underworld password that Dickens came up with for the character Nancy.[1]

I just like the way it sounds - it sort of describes my way of cooking (hence my title).

Plum Pickin | Plums from our garden
Credit: Secret Tenerife on flickr | SMcGarnigle on flickr (Both images licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

Why Do Plums Look Dusty?

The freaky thing that used to bother me about plums was their dusty-white waxy coating. At first, I thought it was some pesticide residue or something artificial added to their skins.

Not so. It turns out that this epicuticular wax (aka the wax bloom) is a natural, protective layer[2] that helps to repel water, keeps the fruit from drying out, and reflects the sun's rays. It probably adds a layer of protection against insects and birds too. It is easily rubbed off.

Types of Plums

Kramer likes the one with red inside

PlumsCredit: donireewalker on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 GenericAccording to Wikipedia, plums are drupe fruits. What's a drupe fruit I wondered. It's an indehiscent fruit with a fleshy part that encompasses a pit, stone, or seed.

So what's an indehiscent fruit? It sounds indecent to me.

An indehiscent fruit does not split open (along a natural line of weakness) to release its pit, stone, or seed. By contrast, milkweed is dehiscent - it breaks open to release its seeds.

Oh but you can see where that natural line of weakness is on a plum - it's the part that looks like a cute little bum (buttocks).

plumCredit: liz west on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 GenericIf you recall the Seinfeld episode where Kramer asks Jerry to get him plums with red on the inside, you might wonder what the appeal is there.

Purportedly, Burgundy[3] plums are sweeter, yet mild and not as tart as other varieties. The Greengage[4] type is candy sweet though.

So which plums taste the best? It depends on what you like. I was astounded to learn there are 140 different varieties of plums.

How To Choose a Good Plum

Here are the basic guidelines:[5][6]

  • look for a fairly uniform colour (light red, dark red, and dark purple maroon are the most popular)
  • no brown spots or breaches in the skin integrity
  • it "gives" to gentle pressure, but doesn't feel mushy
  • it should smell fragrant (smell the bottom, opposite the stem area)
  • go for harder plums over softer ones (unless you are consuming them the same day)
  • don't put unripe plums in the fridge, they ripen best at 68 - 77 F (20 - 35 C)
  • once ripened, you can store them in the crisper of your fridge in an open plastic bag - they will last 2 - 4 weeks this way 
  • NB: as they ripen, plum skins "bloom" and that dusty-white epicuticular wax becomes more noticeable

Up next is a short 25 second video that shows you the type of plums I use. But feel free to experiment and find out your favourite type of plum.

How to Select Plums

Roasted Plums with Maple Syrup

by Victoria Amory, author of Delicious Flavors

When I found this recipe by Victoria Amory, I knew it was a keeper. The maple syrup tames the tart sweetness of plums better than sugar (or other sauces). I recommend Grade A or B 100% pure maple syrup. A nice bonus is the low-fat yogurt topping which I tweaked a bit since I didn't have almond essence. The written instructions (with a few changes) follows the video next.

Roasted Plums with Maple Syrup

Serves: 5 - 6 | Prep: 10 mins | Total: 25 mins


5 - 6 plums
1/3 cup maple syrup (Grade A or B)
Zero or Low-Fat Yogurt Topping:
1.5 cups Zero Fat Plain Yogurt (I used low-fat instead)
1/4 cup powdered sugar (aka icing sugar)
a drop of almond essence OR 3/4 tsp. almond extract (I use 1 tsp. vanilla extract)
Ensure oven racks are adjusted so your plum halves will be centered in oven and preheat to 425 - 450 F (220 - 230 C). My oven seems hotter than most, so I use 425 F (220 C).
Wash plums and rub them dry to remove the waxy bloom. Cut them in equal halves following their natural line of weakness and remove the pits (with a spoon).
Place plums skin-side down in glass baking dish and pour maple syrup into the hole left behind from the pit. 
Carefully place them in the oven for 12 - 15 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare the zero-fat (or low-fat) yogurt topping. In a small bowl, whisk together all three ingredients and keep in the fridge until ready to top your grilled plums. 
NB: If you save out a few grilled plum halves, you can make my next recipe.

Delicious Flavors by Victoria Amory

Delicious Flavors by Victoria Amory RoseWrites 2014-07-11 4.5 0 5

Delicious Flavors by Victoria Amory

Delicious Flavors
Amazon Price: $9.00 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 29, 2016)
I've flipped through this cookbook by Victoria Amory and I'm impressed with how many healthy, low-fat recipes she has created. There's a simplicity to her recipes that suits my hectic lifestyle and I find I don't need to pull out all kinds of appliances to make a meal.

Yummy Plum Pasta Salad

Plum Pasta Salad
Credit: Jeremy Bronson on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Rose's Plummy Pasta Salad

Serves: 3 - 4 | Prep: 15 mins | Total: 30 mins

I was inspired by the creative commons photo (above) by Jeremy Bronson which stated "Roasted plums on a pasta salad. Includes blue cheese, parsley, chives, basil, and chicken."

The thing is, I can't get anyone to eat blue cheese in my family (it's yucky, apparently). I prefer cilantro over parsley, so I came up with my own version (but I'm sure you could sub in the original ingredients, if you like).

The vinaigrette is the same one as in my Avocado, Berries and Cucumber Salad.


3 maple grilled plum halves sliced (from previous recipe)
1/4 cup goat cheese (crumbled)
8 fresh basil leaves (finely chopped)
3 green onions (chopped)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
2 - 3 garlic cloves (minced)
8 oz. pasta
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (good quality)
Optional: cooked meat of your choice (I make mine without meat)
Optional: salt and pepper to taste (after adding vinaigrette to your salad)
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (good quality)
1 tbsp. lemon juice (or juice of 1/2 a lime)
1/2 tbsp. maple syrup
1/8 tsp. ground cumin
pinch cayenne pepper
Get your pasta boiling on the stove.
Wash and chop basil, onions, and cilantro. Mince garlic and place all four in a small bowl.
In another small bowl, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.
Once pasta is done cooking, drain it and return it to the stove (in the same pot). Over medium heat, add 1 tbsp. olive oil and combine thoroughly with the pasta. Add basil, onions, cilantro, and garlic and stir fry for 3 - 4 minutes.
Remove pasta pot from heat and crumble in goat cheese and add grilled maple plum slices and cooked meat (if desired). Give it all a good stir and let the flavours "soak in" for a couple of minutes.
Portion plum salad out onto plates and allow guests to add their own vinaigrette (you don't need much). Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired.

Plum Tart with Goat Cheese

Adding the plums
Credit: Maggie Hoffman on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Gluten-Free Plum Tart with Goat Cheese

I use the exact same gluten-free tart crust recipe for this plum tart as in my Fresh Fruit G-F Dessert for Canada Day and Independence Day. Once it's cooled completely, I fill it. The filling is based on one by Elizabeth Falkner[7] I found on epicurious. I swapped out honey and used maple syrup instead. I also skipped the oil used in the drizzle at the end (less calories).

3 or 4 plums
8 oz. soft fresh goat cheese
8 oz. (1 cup) whole-milk ricotta cheese
2 tbsp. maple syrup, using 1 tbsp. first
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (good quality)
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. coarse kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
In a large bowl, combine goat cheese and ricotta cheese. Add maple syrup, olive oil, sugar, nutmeg, salt and pepper and blend well. Store in fridge if you are waiting for your tart crust to cool.
Wash and rub dry your plums to remove waxy bloom. Cut them in half, remove pits and slice about 1/4 inch thick.
Once tart crust is cool enough, fill it with goat-ricotta cheese filling and top with sliced plums. Refrigerate tart at least one hour (helps it to set) and drizzle it with maple syrup before serving.