The two chief types of plums, grown commercially, would be the European kind and the Japanese kind. The majority of the European types are oblong, purple plums, used to create dried plums, or prunes. Japanese plums, originally from China, were brought to the USA from Japan in the 1870s. The Japanese types are largely sold fresh and include the round candy black plums located in your grocer’s shelves. The Japanese plum season starts in May and extends until September. All of plums are high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, potassium and other minerals.
“Black Ruby” is a large reddish-black plum with very juicy, yellow flesh. Unlike most of the other Japanese types, its pit is”freestone,” meaning that it separates easily from the flesh. Most other Japanese plums have been”clingstone,” meaning that the flesh clings to the pit. “Black Ruby” is a midseason plum. Japanese plum trees thrive in the drier southern and Mediterranean-type climates, but trees of”Black Ruby” were created to tolerate humid climates, as stated by the Clemson University Horticulture site.
“Friar” is a black plum with light amber flesh. It has a little pit and is quite juicy. The flesh is quite sweet and contrasts with the tart skin. It is a late season plum and ripens around three weeks following”Black Ruby.”
“Black Beauty” is really a moderate to large deep purple plum. It is quite juicy if eaten when the plum is firm to the touch and just slightly soft. Avoid plums that are hard, have punctures or possess brown coloration. Plums can be fully ripened when placed in a paper bag (better than plastic) and left out at room temperature. “Black Beauty” appears on grocery shelves at midseason.
A newly introduced plum,”Black Splendor” is a delicious, bluish-black fruit using mahogany-colored shoulders. It is medium to large in size and contains juicy, beet-red flesh. “Black Splendor” is a early-season plum.
“Owen T” and “John W”
The two”Owen T” and”John W” are recently developed large plum types, but”Owen T” is the largest plum, measuring nearly 3 inches across and weighing nearly half a pound. “Owen T” plums possess bluish-black epidermis and sweet, crisp, yellow flesh. “John W” plums, called for berry breeder John H. Weinberger, is a purple plum with tan freckles and orange flesh. These two new varieties have exceptional flavor and the trees yield a large crop of plums, as stated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service. Owen T is a midseason and John W is a late season plum.