From plum crumble to jam and chutney, we’ve got plenty of plum-packed recipe ideas. British plums are soft-fleshed and loose-stoned and can be divided into two groups: sweet ‘dessert’ varieties such as Avalon and sweet-sour ‘cooking’ plums such as Czar. Out-of-season imported plums belong to a different prunus family that originated in Japan. They are sweet, large, round, firm-fleshed, cling-stoned plums.
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The British plum season starts in late July with the Opal variety and finishes in mid-to late-September with the Marjorie Seedling. Each variety has a 2-3 week season.
British plums develop an intense flavour when cooked. They make excellent jam, jelly and fruit cheese, but can also be bottled. Strong spices such as star anise, cloves, vanilla, cinnamon and black pepper all taste good with poached plums. Cream and custard based accompaniments such as ice cream or rice pudding balance their flavour. Out-of-season imported plums can be cooked, but are much sweeter and taste best eaten raw.