Inventory, lb : 0
Sierra plums are round, with skin that turns from green into a dark purplish-red during ripening. These plums are very firm, with a nice balance of sweet and tart. The flesh clings to the smooth pit in the middle.
Sierra plums are available from late spring through early summer.
The Sierra plum is the only native plum on the west coast of the United States. Botanical name Prunus subcordata, Sierra plums are also known as Klamath, Oregon, Pacific, or Western plums. Plums are related to other stone fruits such as apricots, cherries, and peaches, and are referred to as drupes because of the pit at their centers. In the wild, the small trees grow together in thickets, but can grow much larger as backyard trees.
Plums contain plenty of essential elements, including phytonutrients, potassium, Vitamin C, and fiber—a quarter cup of plums contain 12 percent of the daily recommended value of fiber alone. The pits contain cyanide, and should not be consumed. Additionally, dried plums contain oxalates, which should not be consumed in excess by people with kidney and gallbladder issues.
Sierra plums are excellent eaten raw, out of hand. Use large amounts of plums to make all kinds of preserves, from plum jam to plum chutney. They pair well with cheese, poultry, pork, cinnamon, and vanilla. Try grilling plums brushed with olive oil, or mix cooked plums with honey or lime. Sierras can keep well for up to a week on the counter before getting mushy. If they are unripe, put them in a paper bag to ripen. Choose firm fruits without bruising or soft spots. The skin should depress slightly when pressed, but not feel mushy.
Birds, deer, and other wildlife love Sierra plums. Some people plant these plums to attract wildlife to their yards. Keeping an eye on the wildlife also helps foragers and growers figure out when Sierra plums are ripe. Birds and other animals can quickly strip trees of their fruit, so those hoping for plums will need to act fast.
Sierra plums naturally grow only in a very limited range in central California to southern Oregon. They thrive in drier climates in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, in canyons or on the slopes. Sierra plums were long a part of Native American diets in the Pacific Northwest. As American settlers moved into the area, they also discovered the plums—first the trappers, then gold diggers, then ranchers.