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Satsuma plums are round with a pronounced mottled green skin and a maroon blush. With a firm texture, the Satsuma plum has a tough skin that can sometimes be bitter. Its meaty flesh is a deep red color and offers a juicy consistency. The Satsuma plum has an overall mildly sweet flavor with hints of almond.
Satsuma plums are available in the mid-summer months.
Satsuma plums are a Japanese variety botanically known as Prunus salicina, as opposed to the European Prunus domestica. Satsuma plums are considered to be a long-time favorite of California plum-lovers. The hybridization of plums and the release of pluots and apriums have lessened the popularity of these Japanese plums.
Satsuma plums are an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K. Their deep purple skin and richly pigmented flesh is also a rich supply of antioxidants and dietary fiber.
A meaty and juicy flesh makes the Satsuma plum well-suited for jams and sauces. Peel the firm skin and puree the deep-colored pulp to make plum sorbet or dehydrate for fruit leather. Satsuma plums are good for baking, in muffins and pies or as a nice surprise in an upside-down cake. Satsuma plums add color (and a bit of a stain) to fruit salads and a sweet accent to green salads. The Asian plums can last up to two-weeks when refrigerated.
Named for a province in Japan, Satsuma plums were once referred to as ‘Blood plums’ for their intensely-colored red flesh.
The Satsuma plum and other Japanese varieties were brought to California in the late 19th century, where their low chill requirement was well-suited to the Southern California climate. They became an important part of breeding projects that yielded some of the hybrid plum varieties we enjoy today. Satsuma plums are not usually commercially available, however, they can be found at local farmers markets and in home gardens.