Sunday, 19 August 2007

Burbank Plums

Burbank Japanese PlumsJapanese plums have been available for a couple of weeks now, but these are the first I have bought. I confess I have slightly mixed feelings about Japanese plums in general; they are such a mixture of sweet, sour and slightly bitter all in one single fruit. I don't mean all at once. When you bite in, you generally get a rush of sweet, unless you have bitten right to the pit, which is where the toungue-twistingly sour flavours tend to congregate. The skin, again, can be awfully sour or almost slightly bitter, but they aren't really peel-able. I always eat them making a series of strange faces. Also, over the sink as they tend to run down your arm. Certainly, this applies to the earliest and most commonly available Japanese plum, which is the Early Golden.

This is the first time I have bought Burbank plums, and I'm happy to report that although in many ways they seem a typical Japanese plum - very soft and very juicy, with that contrasting collage of flavours - they seem, at least the few I have had so far, to be a little denser in texture and less uneven in flavour, with a nice rich fragrance. In short; I approve. They're good. Which isn't surprising really, when you consider that the legendary plant breeder Luther Burbank gave them his own name.

From the 1903 Guide to Hardy Fruits and Ornamentals by Thomas Joseph Dwyer:

"The fruit is usually from five to five and a half inches in circumference, and varying less in size than other Japan plums, nearly globular; clear cherry red, with a thin lilac bloom. The flesh is a deep yellow color, very sweet, with a peculiar and agreeable flavor. Valuable for preserving. Ripens August twenty-fifth to September tenth."

By that description, they are a little early. Most things do seem to be this year. As you might also gather by the description, they are a particularly pretty plum.

I think I mostly plan to eat mine out of hand, but if I cook with any, I will report back.


sarah said...

hi ferdzy! love that you dedicated a blog to eating seasonally and locally!

thanks for the submission to tastespotting!

sarah said...

(by the way - it's sarah from the delicious life and tastespotting :)