Over 2,000 varieties of plums exist worldwide, classified as Japanese, American, Damson, Ornamental, Wild, and European plums. The European plum originated two thousand years ago near the Caspian Sea, while Japanese plums actually originated in China, but were cultivated and further developed in Japan.

North America is home to native plums, however, European and Japanese plums have been cultivated more recently. The Japanese plum was only introduced to the New World in the late 1800s.

Plums are members of the Prunus family and are relatives of the peach, nectarine, and the almond.

The Vineland Growers Co-Operative provides Food Services with their fresh plums from the Niagara Peninsula.

Ontario primarily grows Japanese and European plums.

Yellow and red plums are descended from Japanese plums. Blue plums and prunes are forms of European plums.

Japanese Plums

  • Yellow Plums:
    • Early Golden – Ontario’s most popular yellow plum.
    • Shiro
  • Red Plums:
    • Burbank
    • Ozark Premier
    • Vanier

Early Golden is freestone, while Shiro is semi-freestone.

European Plums

  • Blue Plums:
    • Bluefre
    • California Blue
    • Valor
  • Purple Plums:
    • Voyageur
  • Dark Purple Plums:
    • Verity
    • Veeblue
    • Victory
  • Prunes:
    • Stanley
    • Italian

All European plums are freestone except for Valor, Veeblue, and Voyager.

Plums are a very good source of vitamin C, as well as a good source of Vitamin K, copper, dietary fiber, and potassium.
Ripe plums will yield to gentle pressure, and will be slightly soft at their tip. You can buy plums which are still firm and ripen them at room temperature out of direct sunlight, but be wary of immature plums.

Good quality plums will be rich in colour and may have a whitish bloom. Select plums that are free of punctures, bruises, or signs of decay.

Ripe plums should be stored in the refrigerator, and will keep for a few days. Store in a low-humidity drawer for best results.

Plums ripen quickly, so be sure to check them frequently if you have left them out in room temperature.

If a plum has been refrigerated, allow it to return to room temperature before eating.

Wash gently before eating or cooking. To peel, immerse briefly in boiling water and slip off the skin when it is cool enough to handle.

Remove the pit by cutting the plum in half lengthwise, gently twisting the halves in opposite directions, and then carefully taking out the pit.

Plums are also ideal for baking and poaching.

Seasonal Availability
July to October

Nutrition per 1 plum (66 g):

Nutrient Value
Calories 30
Carbohydrates 8 g
Total Sugar 7 g
Total Dietary Fibre 1.1 g
Iron 0.1 mg
Potassium 104 mg
Magnesium 5 mg
Vitamin C 6 mg

Provided by Health Canada