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The Greengage plum is deceptive in its looks, with colors of granny smith apples (suggesting tartness) mottled with fair rust colored dots and an unassuming petit apricot size. What is revealed is a historically excellent fruit, complex in taste and texture. The Greengage plum has an amber green flesh nearly the same color of its skin, its texture unsurpassed in its tender firm quality, bursting with syrup-like juices when ripe. Its flavor candy sweet and extremely low acid.
Greengage plums are available during the summer.
Greengage plums, botanical name Prunus italica, is a distinct plum species of the genus, Prunus, which includes cherries, apricots, peaches and almonds. The Greengage plum is a self-pollinating freestone fruit. There are over a dozen different cultivars of the original Greengage plum, each identified by slight difference in skin and flesh appearance, seasonal and regional ripeness, but always similar in their shape and confectionary-like flavors.
Greengage plums are best for fresh eating and used as a principle ingredient in desserts such as cakes, ice creams and pies. They also make delicious compotes, jams and reductions while some varieties are specifically used for alcohol spirits and canning purposes. Complimentary flavors include vanilla, nutmeg, tropical fruits, chocolate, butter and citrus. Savory pairings include mild fresh cheeses such as chevre and ricotta, herbs such as arugula, chiles, fennel and basil, bacon, lamb and raw sashimi grade seafood such as albacore and scallops. To store, refrigerate ripe fruit for up to one week.
There are three different categories of plums: Japanese, Italian and European. The Greengage plum is a European plum which was introduced into England by Sir Thomas Gage in the early 16th century. It was first cultivated in France from a green-fruited plum native to Asia Minor, specifically Armenia. Its given French name is Reine Claude, named after Queen Claude. The Greengage plum tree is known to bear fruit biannually. Pruning the tree to prevent excessive fruit production in one season can prevent scarce harvests in successive years.
Recipes that include Greengage Plums. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Desert Candy||Greengage Plum and Pistachio Crisp|
|Chez Pim||Reine Claude (Green Gage Plum) and Vanilla Jam|
|Cook Almost Anything||Greengage Plum Jam|
|Little Bird Eats||Almond, Greengage and Plum Crumble|