A question you will often hear when people are discussing plums is whether a particular variety is a freestone or not. If you have ever wondered what the fuss was about and which plums are freestone, we are here to help.
In this guide, we look at:
- What is a Freestone Plum?
- A list of Freestone Plums
- Are Santa Rosa Plums freestone?
Let’s dive right in.
What is a Freestone Plum?
Freestone plums are plums that grow where the flesh of the fruit is not attached to the pit.
Stone fruits, also called drupes, are fruits with a single solid seed or pit surrounded by fleshy meat. This family includes peaches, mangoes, cherries, apricots, and plums, among many other species.
Drupes are classified one of three ways:
- Freestone- The pit is not attached to the flesh.
- Clingstone- Seed is firmly connected to the flesh.
- Semi-clingstone- The pit is loosely or partially secured.
The advantage that freestone plums offer chefs and those that love fresh plums alike is the ease of removing the pit. All that is required to pit a freestone plume is to cut or break the plum in half, give a little twist and pluck the seed out.
Most freestone plumbs are European or American Hybrid varieties. There are some Japanese types, but very few Japanese plums are freestone.
List of Freestone Plums
There are hundreds of varieties of freestone plums on the market; some of the most popular and easily found freestone plums in the United States include:
One of the finest dessert plums to be found, Greengage Plums are sweet to the point of having a confectionery flavor. An excellent variety for eating fresh, Greengage plums are also used to create condiments and desserts.
Imperial Epineuse Plums
Imperial Epineuse plumes are large reddish-purple plums with juicy yellow flesh. Wonderfull eaten fresh, Imperial Epuneuse plums are also a top choice for drying into prunes or using in pies and tarts.
Italian Prune Plums
As you may have guessed, Italian Prune Plums are a favorite for drying into prunes. Small round and dark purple, thin-skinned Italian Prune Plums plums resemble blueberries but have a much sweeter taste and a creamy texture.
Seneca Plums have blue-red skin and succulent amber flesh. Considered by many to be the best European plum for making preserves and jams, it is also highly prized in the brandy industry.
Juicy, sweet, and delicious are three words that sum up Stanley Plums. One of the most popular plums for canning and making jellies, Stanley Plums are noted for lacking any bitterness even in their skins.
Yellow Egg Plum
Yellow Pershores, also known as the Yellow Egg Plum, is considered a traditional cooking variety. Yellow Egg Plums are reliably sweet and juicy, but the skin can have a startling tartness. Mainly reserved for cooking deserts, Yellow Pershores are also widely used for making plum brandy.
Are Santa Rosa Plums Freestone?
Santa Rosa plums, like most Japanese varieties, are not freestone. They are a clingstone type with the flesh of the fruit firmly attached to the seed.
While Santa Rosa plums are among the most prevalent plum varieties in the United States, they are better suited to eating fresh than culinary use due to being difficult to pit.