A Guide to Summer Stone Fruits

Plums

plums

This smaller stone fruit is also a kid-friendly favorite. Plums and prunes (the dried version) are a great defense against constipation.

Buy: Look for smooth, bruise-free skin that's rich in color. The chalky white powder on plums is completely natural -- it's called the bloom, and its presence is a sign that a plum hasn't been handled too much from orchard to store. Buy plums that are firm, with a bit of give, and let them ripen on your counter.

Store: Fresh plums, like other stone fruits, are best when stored at room temperature. Adding the fruit to a paper bag will accelerate ripening. Keeping them cool in the fridge will preserve the fruit and slow ripening. Remove the pits before freezing.

Prepare: Plums have a sweet flavor and are easy to add to dishes. They can be baked, poached, grilled, or mashed for jam. If you need to remove the skin, blanch by cooking in boiling water for 20 to 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately add to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Cut the plum in half and peel off skin.

Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.

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