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Updated: Mar 9, 2019

Bowl of freshly picked plums
Opal: a plum/greengage cross, introduced from Sweden in 1925

The plum season is upon us! It starts with the little hedgerow plums, whose brave flowers shine out in March. This year, they got hit by the late frost, and there was hardly any fruit at all. Then it’s the cherry plums, just a little fatter and juicier than the hedgerow ones. By the end of July, the quality varieties are starting to ripen: Opal, followed by the greengages. There is nothing quite like a ripe greengage, sun warmed and bursting with sweetness. I like Early Transparent the best, ripe before the wasps proliferate and you have to fight them for the fruit. At the very end of the season come the damsons. They hang on the tree until the end of October when they are sometimes sweet enough to eat raw. Mostly, though, they are better cooked – blackberry and damson crumble, damson jam, damson gin….  Their luscious deep colour lights up our winter meals.


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