Health Benefits Plums, Nutrition Facts, Uses for Cooking, Recipes

Beautiful, juicy plums belong to the family of Rosaceae, and genus Prunus which includes nectarine, peaches, almonds and damson. The trees are grown all over the world and the various cultivars differ in the color, flavor and size of the fruit.

Plums can be small or large, sweet or tart, oval or round and can be colored purple, red, green, yellow, or blue.

Plums are generally low in calories with only 46 calories per 100 g, about the same as the calories of apples and pears, but only one-quarter of the calories in avocados (244 Cal) and 75% of those in kiwi fruit (61 Cal).

Plums contain no saturated fats or cholesterol, but have moderate fiber (1.4 g per 100g serve) and protein levels. Plums are rich in antioxidants, many vitamins and minerals.

Plums are surprisingly versatile and should be used more often, to boost the nutrients in various savory and sweet dishes, including the use of prunes, which are dried plums.

Plums can be baked as simple desserts, added to pasta dishes, create intrigue in curries and casseroles, added to salads, used in pies, tarts, muffins, cakes and other baked goods, and used to make jams, sauces and pickles. plum sauce is a particular favorite for grilled and barbecued meat and for Asian stir fry dishes

This article reviews the health benefits and nutrient facts for plums, and compares them with Peaches, Nectarines, Apricots and Sweet Cherries.

The many culinary uses of plums are described and some of the best ever plum recipes.

Plums are beautiful and nutritious
Plums are beautiful and nutritious | Source
Pasta Salad with plums
Pasta Salad with plums | Source
Roast Plums straight from the oven
Roast Plums straight from the oven | Source
Plum Tart
Plum Tart | Source

Nutrient Facts and Health Benefits of Plums

The table below compares the nutrients in 100 g of fresh plums with other similar fruit.

The key features of the nutrients in plums are:

Plums are rich in dietary fiber and two compunds. sorbitol, and isatin, that are known to maintain the functioning of the digestive system and to help prevent and relieve constipation conditions. The fiber levels are similar to those on peaches and nectarines, but less that in apricots and cherries.

Fat levels are low compared with the other fruit and calories are lower than in apricots and cherries

Total antioxidant strength of plums is 6,259 micro mol Trolex equivalents/100 g, which is higher than most fruit. This measures oxygen radical absorbance capacity.

Fresh plums have more Vitamin C and K than the other fruit. They are also rich in folates and a are a good source of the B-group vitamins such as niacin, pantothenic acid and vitamin B-6.

Fresh plums, particularly the Mirabelle type, which are colored yellow, are a good source of beta carotene and vitamin A , that help maintain healthy eyes and skin.

Plums are also a good good source of antioxidants such as as lutein, cryptoxanthin and zea-xanthin, which are flavonoid poly phenolic antioxidants. These substances help neutralize the oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive substances that are related to aging and various diseases.

Plums are also a good source of healthy minerals including potassium, phosphorus, copper and iron.

Preparation and Use of Fresh Plums

Always wash fresh plums in cold running water in a colander, just before eating raw or using for various dishes. To get the full quota of beneficial nutrients the skin should be left on the fruit.

Tips for expanding your uses of plums:

  • Eat fresh as a snack
  • Add plum sections to salads to provide variety and acidity
  • Cut the plums in half, remove the stones and bake in the oven. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
  • Plums can be used in a wide variety of desserts and baked goods.
  • Use plums to make delightful sauces, jams and jellies.
  • Plums go well with chicken and pork dishes and can be added to casseroles and curries.

Fabulous Plum Recipes

Almond and Plum Chutney Recipe

  • 25g (1 oz) blanched almonds, pieces are best, otherwise chop whole almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 50g (2 oz) light muscovado sugar
  • 140g (5 oz) raisins
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 finger-size piece of fresh root ginger, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 900g (30 oz) firm plums, halved with stones removed and chopped roughly

Transfer all the ingredients into a large shallow saucepan or boiler. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 35-45 minutes until the plums are cooked tender. Remember to stir the mixture regularly, particularly near the end to stop it burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan. The chutney mixture should thicken, but remember that it will thicken further as it cooks down and so don't cook too long. At the end, add the almonds, mix well and simmer for an extra 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Cool down to lukewarm, and pour into sterilised jars. Cool before sealing.

Classic Plum Cobbler Recipe

For the Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons Verjuice (juice of unripe wine grapes, or use wine vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 500g (1 lb) blood plums (or equivalent) cut in half. Remove the stones

For the Crumble Topping:

  • 1 tub liquid cream to serve
  • 1/2 cup blanched almond flakes or pieces, toasted for the top when serving
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 packet ginger snap biscuits (or similar) blended to a fine crumb

Preheat a fan forced oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F). Spread the half plums out onto a baking dish, add a dot of butter to each one. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and drizzle over 2 tablespoons of Verjuice (or wine vinegar). Cook the plums on the baking tray for 15-20 minutes. To make the crumble, combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and rub the butter into the crumbs until the texture resembles course bread crumbs. Assemble the baked plums in a shallow baking dish, top with the cobbler mixture and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle the almonds over the top. Serve the cobbler with warm with liquid cream.

Braised Pork Shoulder with Plums

  • 6 ripe plums, halved, with stones removed
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoons tomato purée
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (or honey)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons five-spice powder
  • 2 star anise
  • 1bunch spring (green) onions, finely sliced and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 red chilli, with seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 thumb-size piece fresh root ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 5 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 5 tablespoons rice wine
  • 1.6 kg (3lb 8oz) pork shoulder

Slice the pork into large pieces. Put the pork pieces into a food bag or large bowl for marinating. Add the soy sauces, wine, half the garlic and ginger, and half the chilli. Marinate for 2-3 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C (320 degrees F). Put the oil into a large casserole or baking dish. Add half the spring onions, the remaining garlic and ginger, cinnamon, the star anise, five-spice powder. Fry the mixture until the onions are fragrant and soft. Mix in the sugar. Turn the heat up to high. Remove the pork pieces from the marinade (save it). Add to the casserole and mix with the onions and spices for about 3 minutes. The meat should be sealed but not browned. Pour in the left-over marinade, stock and tomato purée. Cover and cook the pork in the casserole dish for about 2 hours. Add the plums after the first hour. When cooked (test the meat), remove any fat on the surface. Using a slotted spoon remove the pork and plum pieces from the pan. Turn up the heat under the pan and boil the sauce for about 5-15 minutes until it is reduced and has started to thicken. Return the pork and plums to the pan, and warm through. Scatter the remaining spring onions over the top and serve.

Savory, Spicy Plum Sauce Recipe

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 3-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 4 pounds ( 2 kg) fresh plums, pitted and quartered

Using a food processor or blender, process the onions, plums and garlic in several batches until it forms a smooth paste. Transfer to a Dutch oven or casserole. Add the remaining ingredients and mix. Bring to the boil, then lower heat and simmer for 60-90 minutes, mixing regularly. The sauce should reduce to a third of the original volume. Carefully ladle the hot mixture into sterile jars, cool and seal.

Nutrition Facts for Plums compared with Similar Fruit

Nutrient Value per 100 g
Plums
Peaches
Nectarines
Apricots
Sweet Cherries
Energy
46 Cal
39 Cal
44 Cal
50 Cal
 63 Cal
Carbohydrates
11.42 g
9.54 g
10.55 g
11 g
16.1 g
Protein
0.70 g
0.91 g
1.06 g
1.4 g
1.06 g
Total Fat
0.28 g
0.25 g
0.32 g
0.4 g
  0.2 g
Cholesterol
0 mg
0 mg
0 mg
0 mg
    0 g
Dietary Fiber
1.40 g
1.5 g
1.7 g
2 g
 2.1 g
Vitamins
 
 
 
 
 
Folates
5 mcg
4 mcg 
5  mcg 
9 mcg
4 mcg
Niacin
0.42 mg
0.80 mg
1.13 mg
0.6 mg
0.15 mg
Pantothenic acid
0.13 mg
0.15 mg
0.18 mg
0.24 mg
0.2 mg
Pyridoxine
0.03 mg
0.03 mg
0.03 mg
0.05 mg
0.05 mg 
Riboflavin
0.03 mg
0.03 mg
0.03 mg
0.04 mg
0.03 mg
Thiamin
0.03 mg
0.02 mg
0.03 mg
0.0 mg
0.03 mg
Vitamin C
9.5 mg
6.6 mg
5.4 mg
10 mg
7 mg
Vitamin A
345 IU
326 IU
332 IU
1926 IU
640IU
Vitamin E
0.26 mg
0.73 mg
0.77 mg
0 mg
 0.07 mg
Vitamin K
6.4 mcg
2.6 mcg
2.2 mcg
3.3 mcg
2.1 mcg
Electrolytes
 
 
 
 
 
Sodium
1 mg
0 mg
0 mg
1 mg
0 mg
Potassium
157 mg
190 mg
201 mg
259 mg
222 mg
Minerals
 
 
 
 
 
Calcium
6 mg
6 mg
6 mg
13 mg
13 mg
Copper
0.06 mg
0.07 mg
0.09 mg
 
0.06 mg
Iron
0.17 mg
0.25 mg
0.28 mg
0.39 mg
0.36 mg
Magnesium
7 mg
9 mg
9 mg
10 mg
11 mg
Manganese
0.05 mg
0.61 mg
0.54 mg
0.08 mg
0.07 mg
Phosphorus
16 mg
11 mg
26 mg
23 mg
21 mg
Zinc
0.10 mg
0.17 mg
0.17 mg
0.2 mg
0.07 mg
Phyto-nutrients
 
 
 
 
 
Carotene, alpha
190 mcg
162 mcg
 
19 mcg
0 mcg
Carotene, beta
35 mcg
67 mcg
150 mcg
1094 mcg
38 mcg
Lutein-zeaxanthin
73 mcg
91 mcg
130 mcg
89 mcg
85 mcg

© 2013 Dr. John Anderson

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