History and Trivia
The history of the plum can be traced back in writings to 479 B.C. Plum trees were signficant in Chinese mythology and were prominent in the writings of Confucious. The plum tree, often carved on jade, signified resurrection and was associated with great age and wisdom. In 65 B.C. Pompey the Great introduced the plum to the orchards of Rome, and Alexander the Great eventually brought them to the Mediterranean regions.
The existence of ancient plums is best documented through one of America's most famous pomologists, Luther Burbank. Burbank is unequaled in his contribution toward improving and hybridizing plum trees of various species. His famous line of plum trees that were popular in the late 1980's are still admired and grown commercially today; including Burbank, Shiro and Ozark Premier.
Early American colonists could find wild plums growing along the east coast, but today common European plums and Japanese plum varieties have replaced the native wild plum in popularity and as a commercial crop.
The high sugar content in many plum varieties makes it possible for the plum (prune) to insure long term preservation when it is dried. The prune has a thick skin and a texture that is required not to crack when the commercial drying process begins and delivers a tasty, honey-sweet fruit that lasts well.
Plums are rated high in antioxidant content offering many health benefits to those that enjoy this delicious fruit.
Other interesting plum trivia:
Plums are the second most cultivated fruit in the world.
Plums can be as small as a cherry and as large as a baseball.
Plums grow on every continent except Antarctica.
Plums were on the menu at the first Thanksgiving dinner in 1621.
Pluots, apriums, apriplums, or plumcots, are some of the hybrids between different Prunus species that are also called interspecific plums. Natural plumcots and apriplums have been around for hundreds of years from regions of the world that grow both plums and apricots from seed. The name plumcot was created by Luther Burbank. Pluots are later-generations that show more plum than apricot characteristics; the fruit's exterior has smooth skin closely resembling that of a plum. Pluots were developed in the late 20th century by Floyd Zaiger, and "Pluot" is a registered trademark of Zaiger's Genetics. Apriums resemble apricots on the outside. Apriums are noted for their sweet taste and are usually only available early in the fruit season, like apricots and unlike pluots, which include some very late-ripening varieties.
Question: What are prunes?
Answer: Plums are known as prunes in France, and earlier times, it is believed that both plum and prune meant the fresh fruit.
In modern times, the prune is the dried version of the plum. Most prunes are made from La Petite d'Agen variety of plum brought from France in 1856 by French horticulturist Louis Pellier.
A new movement by the prune industry is to market prunes as plum raisins or dried plums in hopes the new term wil appeal more to younger people.