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The plum marks the return of the sun and colors to the plate ... raw or cooked, in jam or for dessert, the plum has something to titillate our taste buds!
The plum in brief:
French production (1): 56,000 tonnes (2008-2012 average)
Production basins : Midi-Pyrénées, PACA, Rhône-Alpes
Availability : from July to October
Full season : august
Average price in 2013 (2): € 2.83 / kg
Consumption at home in 2013 (2): 1 kg per household
Nutrition (3): 100 g of plum represent 48.7 kcal
- Plum: health benefits and virtues
The plum tree is sometimes used as an ornamental tree. However, it is more often cultivated for its fruits. It is one of the most planted fruit trees in France. The plum tree is a robust tree that resists cold well, so it can be found both in the North and in the South of the country.
The first flowers start to appear on the branches in early spring. But the first fruits can be picked in July.
The later varieties are even desirable until September.
A little history
The exact origin of the plum tree that is cultivated in France today is not known. It is thought to be the result of a cross between several European and Asian species dating back thousands of years. The culture of plums looks very old. Archaeologists have found cores similar to those of the mirabelle plum in sites dating back to the Bronze Age.
It is also known that in Egypt, dried plums were placed in the tombs of the pyramids. Plum was also widely cultivated in Syria, where the Crusaders were arrested. According to legend, they only brought back plum trees from their trip, which is how the expression "go for plums" was born.
In France, it was from the Middle Ages, but especially during the Renaissance, that the plum enjoyed real success. One of them will take the name of "Reine-claude" in honor of the wife of François I, who adored it.
The plum in the kitchen
To the touch, the plum should be supple, without being soft. The skin is smooth, unblemished and has a good fragrance. The little white veil that covers it is called the bloom: a kind of natural wax shield that the fruit makes to protect itself from the sun. Its presence is a guarantee of freshness and proves that the fruit has not undergone too much handling. Note that some varieties are naturally devoid of it.
There are many varieties of plums, however we rarely find more than four in our markets:
- the queen claude, very round, yellow to green in color, and which has a firm and sweet flesh;
- the mirabelle, smaller, golden, with an orange-yellow flesh with sweet and sweet flavors;
- the quetsche deep purple and American-Japanese, including Golden Japan and Blackamber.
Plums are eaten quickly after purchase. The ideal is therefore to consume them the same day.
Depending on their maturity, it is possible to keep them for ten days in the refrigerator. It is then preferable to take them out of the vegetable drawer a few minutes before tasting them so that the fruit can release all its flavors.
Pitted, the plum is easily stored in the freezer.
Preparation of plums
Plain, you just need to wash it well to enjoy it to the fullest. In pies, clafoutis, crumbles and fars, it is easily cooked thanks to its very thin skin that you do not need to peel beforehand.
To remove the pit, simply cut the fruit in half at the last minute or the flesh will turn brown.
Salted, plum also goes well with white meats.
And to prolong the pleasure all year round, it lends itself equally well to plum jams mixed with tangy fruits like rhubarb, the lemon or theorange.
- Read also : all you need to know about plum cultivation
Sources: (1) Agreste, (2) Kantar Worldpanel 2013, (3) Ciqual 2013
© Philippe Dufour / Interfel