By: Tonya Barnett, (Author of FRESHCUTKY)
Like many aspects of gardening, planning for and planting fruit trees at home is an exciting endeavor. Variation in use, color, texture, and taste offered by different cultivars of fruit trees make the choice an extremely difficult task for growers. Coming in colors ranging from dark purple to pale yellow, plums are no exception to this rule. One such plum tree, called ‘Yellow Egg,’ is praised for its use in preserves, baked goods, as well as fresh eating.
According to its namesake, Yellow Egg plums are a type of yellow egg-shaped European plum. Known for being somewhat smaller, European plums are a great addition to home orchards for their fresh eating qualities when allowed to fully ripen as well as their use in pies, tarts, and various savory recipes. Thriving in USDA growing zones 5 through 9, gardeners are able to reap large harvests of these sweet freestone plums.
Due to the uncommon availability of this plant in some areas, finding Yellow Egg plum saplings locally at garden centers or plant nurseries may be somewhat difficult. Luckily, the trees are frequently found for sale online. If ordering online, always make certain to order only from reputable sources, as to ensure healthy and disease-free plants. This is especially important as some varieties experience susceptibility to canker.
Also known as the ‘Pershore Egg,’ Yellow Egg plum trees are grown much like other types of plum. Choose a well-draining planting location which receives at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day. Before planting, soak the root ball of the plum sapling in water for at least one hour.
Prepare and amend the planting hole so that it is at least twice as wide and twice as deep as the root ball of the sapling. Plant and then fill in the hole, making certain not to cover the collar of the tree. Then water thoroughly.
Once established, these trees are generally carefree, but do require routine maintenance such as frequent irrigation and pruning. Though Yellow Egg plum trees are frequently listed as self-fertile, better pollination and increased yields are likely to result when planted with another plum tree, specifically for aid in pollination.
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Of the various types of plums, most of us have probably only tasted a few at most and possibly are even unaware that there are different kinds. The varieties aren't endless, and in fact number under a dozen.
Fun fact: plums are believed to be the first type of fruits cultivated by human beings. It's supposed to have started in Eastern Europe and the mountains near Caspian Sea.
Some believe that they were then carried to Rome around 200 BC and subsequently introduced to northern Europe. And were supposedly domesticated by the Chinese around 479 BC.
While there's no way to tell how much of that's true, the fact is that wild plums were grown all over the Old and New Worlds. The most popular type of plums now are Japanese plums and come in black, red and yellow colors.
Black plums have mild to sweet taste and are usually used in tarts to add texture to baked dishes. The red ones have a sweet-tart flavor, and the yellow varieties are smaller, rounder and are also called lemon plums. They have a crisp and firm texture and are great for pies and jams.
This European blue plum has tender, green-yellow flesh resembling 'Stanley' but softer. Production is moderate, but fine for the home garden and the tree is hardy. It is best planted in the North, and ripens in mid- to late July in Michigan. Origin: Unknown.
A round, medium-sized Japanese plum, it is yellow and of fair quality. The stone is small and free. The tree is vigorous, outgrowing other varieties, but it has a tendency to bear in alternate years. Thin carefully. Pollinate with 'Shiro' or 'Burbank'. The fruit ripens in Michigan in mid-July. Good for the North. Origin: Canada.
Also known as Prunus domestica, this dry variety of plums boasts an oblong sort of shape and is often labeled as “fresh prunes” in the markets. It is also considered to be an “ancient domesticated species” and is widely cultivated in temperate regions.
It is believed that this type of fruit species was first cultivated in Syria and then in Rome during the Crusades, the Romans introduced European plums to the Western part of Europe. European plums can be found in a number of varieties, varying in their colors and flavors. The following are the few popular types of European plums that are worth your read.
Considered as the best European type of plum, Moyer plums are longer in shape and less round which is quite unlike typical plums. They are usually sold fresh and plump, having a pleasantly sweet flavor. Once dried-out, these tasty fruits retain its sweet flavor which is why they can be deliciously incorporated in different types of dry dishes.
Due to their impeccable sweet taste, Mayor Plums are often labeled as “sugar plums”. To ensure the healthy growth of Moyer Plums, plant its crop with other European plum varieties like Brooks Plum. The best quality is that Mayor Plums do not get affected by pests. However, they need to be protected against bacteria and that can be done with the use of Bacterial Canker.
You may also find Moyer plums being sold as Italian plums, French prunes, Italian prunes, or just fresh prunes.
Greengage plums may appear to be deceiving with an unripe-shade – green. However, the truth is greengage plums are naturally green in color even when they become mature. One may think of them having a sour-like taste since most green-hued fruits are sour. But research shows that they have the highest sugar level.
Depending on the variety, greengage plums can range from a small to medium size and flaunt pale yellow-green to bright lime with red specks as their skin surface. Consumers of greengage plums suggest that these beautiful-looking fruits have dense and juicy flesh, having the right balance of honey-like sweetness and subtle acidity of citrus fruits.
Botanically classified as Prunus domestica, greengage plums are sold out in the summer season by over a dozen cultivars such as Imperial Gage, Reine Claude, Bryanston, Golden Transparent, Laxton’s Gage, and Cambridge Gage. Plums belonging to each of these groups have a different skin/flesh color, flavor, and seasonality.
Greengage plums aren’t just flavorful but they are also packed with an excellent nutrition profile, containing vitamins A, C, and K. In addition, they also filled with minerals like potassium and phosphorus.
These yummy plums are also quite versatile in nature and can be used in the making of various dishes like ice creams, pies, and cakes. You can also use them to make delectable jams, reductions, compotes, and a wide variety of alcohol. The flavors that work best with greengage plums include nutmeg, tropical fruits, vanilla, butter, chocolate, citrus, and tropical flavors. You can also pair them up with savory food items like cheese such as ricotta and chevre, herbs including chili, basil, and arugula, bacon, seafood, and lamb.
Did you know that you can store greengage plums for up to a week? To let them survive for this long, you will need to refrigerate the plums.
Commonly referred to as Mirabelle prunes or cherry plums, Mirabelle plums are a surprisingly small and sweet fruit, that are commonly grown in the Lorraine region of France. These utterly syrupy plums are famous for their use in a variety of jams, baked goodies, jellies, and fruit brandy (eau de vie).
This is one of the rarest forms of plum that you won’t find in many countries except for France. While you can grow your very own Mirabelle plums in your home garden, the most genuine Mirabelle fruit is only grown in France. Unfortunately, they can’t be imported to other countries due to difficulties concerning the import of fresh and excellent quality of products.
In order to grow Mirabelle plums at your home garden, you will first have to find an authentic and reliable supplier that can provide you with good-quality plum saplings. You will require big space and have to consider regular care and maintenance for these beautiful plums to grow healthy.
While plucots and pluots are often labeled as the same type of plums, they are technically different. Plucots are an early plum-apricot hybrid while pluot consists of plum traits more than an apricot’s. Generally, plucots boast a yellowish-green exterior with a bold pink to the red interior.
Unlike Japanese plums, they come in an oval shape with lemony green-yellow skin and prominent patches of reddish-blue color. They are firm and crisp which is why they are commonly used in making mint salsa. You can also use plucots in other scrumptious dishes like jam, chutney, plum crumbles, etc.
They are a late-season plum variety that ripe in late July and August. Once matured, they flaunt firm and crisp flesh and can easily be imported to other countries without getting damaged on their way.
Pluots are a sweet, hybrid fruit with smooth reddish skin and yellowish flesh. You can find a number of varieties of pluots at a market – Dapple Dandy, Flavor Grenade, Flavorglo, and Dinosaur Egg.
To make the most of pluots, you will have to look for fresh, fragrant plums that are firm and vibrant in their appearance. Avoid soggy or soft pluots as chances are they haven’t ripened quite well. Just like any other plum, pluots can stay on the counter for three days and for one week in a refrigerator.
Get your hands on all these different types of plums and either eat them raw or cook/bake them into luscious dishes like cakes, pastries, pies, biscuits, etc.