Tips for Choosing the Perfect Plum

Nothing beats the perfect plum — sweet, juicy flesh encased in slightly tart skin. It’s like biting into summer, literally. There are several varieties of plums, but the base flavors are about the same.

You’ll find fresh plums available from June through October. The longer they’re allowed to ripen, the sweeter they become. Look for plums that are plump with smooth, unblemished skin. When ripe, the flesh of most plum varieties should give slightly when squeezed gently, though green and yellow plums remain firm even when ripe.

Under-ripe plums are best for cooking or making preserves. To ripen them, place them in a brown, paper bag for a couple of days. Once ripe, store them in the refrigerator.

Plums are high in Vitamin C and antioxidants and their skin is rich in fiber. They’re excellent on their own as a snack and are delicious in both sweet and savory dishes.

My Maryland plums came from Pong’s Orchard in Fulton, MD.

Plum Crostata

Crostatas are the perfect dessert for casual cooks. They’re free-form, fruit-filled tarts baked on a baking sheet instead of in a pie plate or tart pan. A refrigerated pie crust saves time and the stress that can come with trying to make a perfect pie crust from scratch.


    3 tablespoons plum preserves
    1 tablespoon water
    1-2 tablespoons sugar, to taste
    3 cups thinly-sliced plums
    1 refrigerated pie crust, thawed
    1 egg, lightly beaten
    1/4 teaspoon sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine plum preserves and water in a small pot over medium-high heat. Stir in 1-2 tablespoons sugar, to taste, depending on the sweetness of your plums. Cook until preserves melt and sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
  3. Place plums in a medium bowl. Pour in the cooled preserves mixture and toss until plums are evenly coated.
  4. Place the pie crust on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Roll the dough out to a roughly 14-inch diameter circle.
  5. Place the plums in the center of the dough and use a spatula to spread them evenly over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold the edges over the fruit, pleating it as necessary, making sure not to cover the fruit in the center.
  6. Lightly brush the dough with the lightly-beaten egg. Discard remaining egg wash. Sprinkle the dough with 1/4 teaspoon sugar. Bake until the crust is brown and the fruit is soft and thickened, 25 to 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the crostata from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Number of servings: 4


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