Plum is one of the most popular fruits when it comes to palinka production. But did you know that plum has even more to offer? This versatile fruit has a huge potential as a cooking ingredient in the kitchen. As we all know, good, hiqh-quality plum does not need ’advertisement’ but in this article we would like to highlight the main characteristics of this amazing fruit. So if you are interested in fruits in general, you want to make your own palinka or you are a huge fan of plum palinka, you are at the best place to learn more about this delicacy. Let’s dive into the world of plum!
Plum: origins and types
Do you know about the origins of plum and that it has several subvariations? Let’s find out more about this! Plum is native to Central Europe. Interestingly, in the Middle Ages plum appeared in England as well, and with the passing of time, plum cultivation became more and more important in the region. Some say that the oldest cultivated plum species is the so called ’Chinese plum’, that originates from China as its name suggests. From China, plum travelled to Japan approximately three hundred years ago, where further changes happened. In the nineteenth century, plum reached the shores of the United States of America, especially California where a crossbred of bullace (a variety of plum and cherry plum appeared, and this crossbred is what we consider plum nowadays. Several varieties of plum exist in the colors of the rainbow – green, red, blue, yellow and black – and best of all, all these subspecies have different shapes and flavors. Regardless of the variety, plum is best to be harvested when its colour is beautiful, but they are not fully ripen yet. As we said previously, plum is a versatile fruit: it can be used for making soups, ice creams (frozen plum in itself is a true delight during the hot summer days. Even those who don’t like plum will love this in frozen form), jams, cakes, pies, sauces (sweet and sour), chutney and of course, palinka. In addition to its delicious taste, plum provides nutrients that are essential for life and general well-being.
The possible physiological effects of plum
Fruit and vegetables are full of vitamins, and according to WHO recommendation, 450 g / day would the ideal fruit and vegetable portion in order to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Plum is rich in provitamin A, vitamins C and E, all of which have antioxidant effects (antioxidants can protect human body against harmful free radicals). Moreover, plum is rich in potassium, magnesium and calcium and is also rich in iron. Its high iron content is beneficial for people with anemia problems. Plum consumption stimulates the digestive system and has a laxative effect due to plum’s high fiber content, sorbitol and a special substance called diphenyl lysatin. Thanks to its 85% water content, plum can effectively fight thirst, similarly to watermelon. The consumption of plum can stimulate the nervous system and can also protect our heart and veins, consequently plum consumption can prevent cardiovascular problems.
The many uses of plum: a versatile ingredient
Depeding on its type, plum can be used for making basically anything in the culinary world. Plums make great soups, sauces, baked goods and even candied plums are available on the market. Sour plum varieties can be used for making salty sauces for meat, for example, beef or pork. The so called Chinese plum can be eaten fresh, but it is also suitable for making thick, rich, fragrant jams. Bullace makes an excellent jam, but it is not that delicious when eating raw. Another plum variety, the Canadian plum – due to its sour flavour – is more suitable for jellies and chutneys. Plum is also popular for making palinka, and according to recent statistics, plum palinka is still one of the most popular palinkas in Hungary, and around the world.
UK Fun Fact
Did you know that prune (dried plum in other words) had serious ’popularity’ problems in some English-speaking countries? It was associated with elderly people and old age, and were considered a remedy for constipation. Yes, it is shocking but true. Plum contains sorbitol that cannot be digested so it has a laxative effect. Plum popularity began to rise when British television chefs started to promote this wonderful fruit, and began to use it in Christmas cakes and pies.