By: Judy Davie - The Food Coach
When it comes to nutritious and delicious fruits, plums take the spotlight. Packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and fibre, these little wonders offer more than just a delightful taste. Dive into the world of plums as we explore their diverse varieties, health benefits, and even unveil the secrets hidden within their unique stones.
Varieties of Plums in Australia:
Australia boasts over 200 different varieties of plums, with Japanese and European types dominating store shelves. Japanese plums, characterized by their larger size and predominantly red skin, thrive extensively in Australian orchards. On the other hand, European plums, with their smaller size and a spectrum of skin colors from yellow-green to deep blue or purple, contribute their own distinct flavors.
Notable Plum Varieties:
The 'prune plum' or d'Agen plum stands out for its ideal suitability for drying, thanks to its high sugar content. Most prunes are crafted from this variety, making them a popular choice for those seeking a concentrated burst of sweetness.
Intriguing New Varieties:
Some newer plum varieties present a feast for the eyes and taste buds, with pinky-red flesh and strikingly colored skins ranging from red to purple and black. Uniquely, each stone within plums mirrors the individuality of human fingerprints.
Selecting the Sweetest Plums:
When picking plums, keep an eye out for those adorned with little white speckles on the skin-nature's signal of high natural sugar content. A sweet eating experience is guaranteed with these gems.
Ripening and Storage Tips:
To enjoy plums at their best, choose fruits with intact skin, avoiding signs of wrinkling or sunburn. Plums are typically picked when nearly ripe, further ripening at room temperature over a few days. Once ready, they can be stored in the fridge for up to five days. The plum season in Australia spans from November to May.
The Nutritional Power of Prunes:
Prunes, simply dried plums, have become a favorite among nutritionists due to their high fiber content. Adding a few chopped prunes to your morning muesli not only enhances flavor but also benefits bowel health and aids digestion.
Choosing and Storing Prunes:
When buying prunes, opt for those that are plump and shiny. Store them in a cool, dark place for several months or in the fridge for extended shelf life. Ensure the container is tightly sealed to prevent drying out.
Prunes take center stage in the antioxidant arena with a high ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) rating of 5770 per 100 grams. This surpasses the scores of plums (949), strawberries (1540), and apples (218) in the same quantity. Incorporating four prunes a day into your diet provides a substantial antioxidant boost, scoring 2308.
Beyond their delectable taste, plums and prunes emerge as nutritional powerhouses, offering a spectrum of health benefits. From antioxidant-rich prunes to the diverse flavors of different plum varieties, these fruits showcase nature's ability to deliver both taste and wellness. So, the next time you reach for a plum or a prune, savor not only the flavour but also the healthful goodness they bring to your plate.
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