Cherry plums are a uniquely flavorful fruit that has become extremely popular in recent years due to its delicious taste and host of nutritional benefits.
Unfortunately, not nearly enough people know about this one of a kind fruit, and that’s why we’re here to show you everything you need to know about the cherry plum’s historical journey and amazing nutritional qualities as well as growing information and ways to incorporate their incredible flavor into a host of quick and easy recipes!
History of Cherry Plums
Referred to scientifically as Prunus cerasifera, cherry plums (also known as myrobalan plums) were first discovered in Western Tehran as well as in the mountains of Karaj of Iran, but they are also native to areas in Southeastern Europe in addition to other regions of Western Asia.
This early ancestor of the domestic plum has continued to move westward, and today it naturally grows all over the British Isles as well as in several small pockets across North America. Cherry plum trees are even found in parts of Southeastern Australia where they are considered to be a mildly invasive species.
While the fruits themselves have always been used as a nutritious food source, cherry plum flowers have been shown to possess their own therapeutic value. In the 1930s, Dr. Edward Bach used cherry plum flowers to help people who were afraid of potentially losing their minds after suffering from “dark and scary impulses.” It’s even been reported that Dr. Bach was able to use these flowers to successfully treat autistic children and agitated animals.
Even today, many people swear by using the essence of these flowers as an herbal supplement.
How do Cherry Plums Grow & What do They Taste Like?
Cherry plums are found on trees or large shrubs that tend to grow quickly and live a relatively short lifespan of less than 20 years.
In the springtime, they are usually one of the first trees to flower, and flowers can begin blooming as early as mid-February in places such as Europe and the United Kingdom.
Cherry plums trees are characterized by the vibrant purple foliage and pale pink or white flowers known for their strong fragrance.
The cherry plum itself is perfectly round and extremely small in size, measuring only about two or three centimeters wide.
These fruits can ripen anywhere between early July to mid-September, during which they become a bright cherry color scattered with light peach-colored speckles.
Once you’ve bitten through the super thin skin, the cherry plum will reveal its golden interior that surrounded a tiny central pit.
The surprisingly soft texture complements the bold flavors, in which an initial burst of sweetness and a tart aftertaste come together to create a delightful and well-balanced flavor.
Nutritional Value & Health Benefits
Despite their small size, cherry plums are packed with loads of nutrients and can make a deliciously healthy addition to your diet.
They are a fantastic source of vital nutrients such as calcium, phosphate, potassium, and vitamins C and B, all of which are necessary for maintaining an efficient metabolism and a healthy nervous system. Cherry plums contain less sugar compared to many other fruits, and they also contain important organic acids.
They’re even a good source of sodium and iron which are both essential for hydration, muscle function, and blood production. For people looking to lose weight, cherry plums are extremely low-fat and allow you to satisfy hunger without racking up the calories.
In terms of health benefits, the host of nutrients contained inside a cherry plum are super effective for preventing harmful diseases and boosting overall health.
Doctors have recommended cherry plums as a way to promote growth in young children as well as promote wellness in pregnant women, nursing mothers, and the elderly.
Cherry plums contain vitamin A as well as vitamin C, both of which are powerful antioxidants and can be used to promote healthy skin and slow down the aging process.
Vitamin C is also known for its ability to support the immune system and prevent damage to cells that could potentially lead to certain types of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
The cherry plum also boasts high amounts of potassium, and this mineral is essential in strengthening your heart muscle and preventing the onset of heart disease.
Fresh cherry plums can be used to treat nutrient deficiencies in addition to other conditions caused by lack of essential vitamins including anemia, scurvy, and vitamin B deficiency. Its high fibre content helps promote digestion, stimulate intestinal activity, and alleviate certain stomach ailments.
Cherry plums contain a particularly high amount of soluble fibre, which has been linked to health cholesterol levels and improved cognitive function. People who struggle with obesity, diabetes, or other metabolic disorders can also find themselves benefiting from cherry plums’ low sugar content.
Some people have even reported that infusing the cherry plum flowers in water can help alleviate symptoms of certain liver and kidney diseases, and they’ve even shown to be useful in treating male reproductive disorders.
Cherry plum trees are primarily grown for ornamental purposes, but they can easily produce fruit within two to four years of planting if placed near the correct pollinators. These trees can grow in both temperate and subtropical climates, reaching a height of 15 to 20 feet and a canopy width of about 20 feet at full maturity.
Cherry plums are somewhat resistant to drought and have the potential to thrive in dryer conditions or areas with supplemental moisture, but the conditions can’t be too dry or too wet. They grow best in loamy, acidic soil, but they will also do well in clay or sandy soil if provided with partial shade exposure.
Unfortunately, cherry plums are particularly sensitive to pests and disease, and this is one the reasons they have such a relatively short lifespan. Birds and flies are also attracted to their tasty fruits, but this can be prevented by setting traps or covering your trees with netting.
Cherry Plum Recipes
Now that you’ve learned everything there is to know about these amazingly delicious fruits, it’s time to get cooking! While the options for cherry plum recipes are truly limitless, below are three of our favorite recipes that are mouthwateringly tasty as they are quick and easy to prepare.
1. Cherry Plum Preserves
This vegan treat is the perfect addition to any breakfast or snack and can be prepared in minutes! Start by cleaning any dirt and stems off of your fruit, then fill a large, thick bottomed cooking pot with 5 cups of cherry plums.
Cook your cherry plums until the fruit has softened, mashing with the back of a spoon as you cook. Once all the fruit is softened, run through a food mill using the largest strainer size to remove all of the skin and seeds.
In a large pot, combine your fruit with 4 cups of sugar and the juice of one lemon (adjust recipe based on how much fruit you get from the mill). Bring slowly to a boil while stirring frequently, and cook until the mixture begins to gel.
2. Cherry Plum Muffins
You’ll easily fall in love with this recipe for decadent cherry plum muffins. Preheat your oven to 350° and line a 12-cavity muffin tin.
Using a large bowl, combine the following ingredients and mix well: 1 cup chopped cherry plums, 1 ¼ cup flour, ¼ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon baking powder, and ½ teaspoon baking soda.
In another bowl, beat 1 egg with ¼ cup granulated sugar and 2 tablespoon brown sugar, and then combine the mixture with ¼ cup whole milk yogurt and ¼ cup melted butter.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients before folding in 4 sliced cherry plums. Transfer to the lined muffin tin and top with more sliced cherry plums. Bake for 20-25 minutes, and enjoy!
3. Cherry Plum Crisp
This cherry plum crisp recipe pairs perfectly with ice cream or whipped cream for the ultimate treat! Preheat your oven to 375°, and spray an 8×8 baking dish with non-stick spray.
Combine the following ingredients into a large bowl and mix well: 8 sliced cherry plums, ¼ cup sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice.
In a separate bowl, combine and mix the following ingredients: ½ cup old-fashioned oats, ½ cup brown sugar, ¼ flour, ¼ cup cold butter, ¼ cup almond extract, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.
Pour the first mixture into the baking dish, and then sprinkle the second mixture evenly on top. Bake for 30-35 until the crisp is a deep golden brown color, and then increase the oven temperature to 400°. Bake for 5 more minutes for an extra crunch, remove, and dive on in!
These are just three of the hundreds of recipes you can make using the uniquely delicious flavor of cherry plums.
From jams to pies to crumbles and more, you will never run out of tasty treats to make using these incredible fruits that are equally tasty and nutritious (you can even make barbeque sauce with this crazy recipe). So what are you waiting for? Go crazy with cherry plums today!