Plums (Prunus domestica) are sometimes called Italian plums even though they originate in the area around the Caspian Sea called Eastern Europe. They are an under appreciated fruit that do not have the pest problems of Cherries. In the past they may have been valued more because we have the expression ‘ A Plum Job’ which implies a good position that is not too demanding.
People know about prunes but may not realize these are actually just dried Italian plums. Because they do not get pests, the conventional farmers can grow them without using any pesticides. I always ask the growers at the farmer’s markets what they use and they always say nothing. We buy local from non-organic sources if we can talk with the growers to confirm they don’t use chemicals on them.
Calgary has BC organic fruits in the health stores so we buy them there but they are not available for very long. It seems like farmers have forgotten the benefits of this great fruit tree so the supply is limited. We need more young farmers planting more plums trees for direct sale to consumers.
Chris Dixon’s Healthy Edibles has this to say about the health benefits of plums (Educational Purposes Only): aid management of blood sugar & reproductive health, help prevent thickening of the conjunctiva of the eye & macular degeneration of the eyes. Purple plums: help prevent premature aging, manage high blood pressure & protect against liver disease. Prunes, dried or juice: laxative, help prevent cancer, anemia, fragile bones & cell damage. Lower cholesterol, aid mental concentration, skin, joints, ligaments, muscles, tendons, cartilage, hair, eye, cornea, blood vessels, bones and inter-vertebral discs of the spine. CAUTION: Plums contain high amounts of oxalic acid that limits the amount of calcium the body can absorb, to counter this eat foods high in vitamin C like citrus fruits (orange, grapefruit etc.).