Italian “Prune” Plums AKA Empress plums, botanical name Prunica domestica, are a freestone fruit that are indeed the fruit that is responsible for prunes. Italian plums are considered a multi-purpose plum. Their ability to create a high concentration of fermentable sugars makes them the ideal candidate to create prunes. In addition to direct consumption, they are also a commercial fruit crop used for the processing industry of cheeses and distilled alcohols, including brandy and wine.
The Italian plum is a petit, egg-shaped fruit with a deep purple, often powdered blueberry colored smooth thin skin and an amber lime green, tender firm and dense flesh full of rich, complex and appropriately confectionary sweet flavors that deepen as the fruit ripens. The fruit bears a large central inedible pit that is easily removed from the flesh. When cooked, the fruit’s flesh turns fuchsia pink in color.
Italian Plum Usage
Although Italian plums are most often designated for drying to prune state, they are well suited for fresh eating, using as a dessert ingredient, processing into jam and preserve form and simply adding to sweet and savory salads. Complimentary sweet flavors include vanilla, nutmeg, tropical fruits, chocolate, butter and cream. Savory pairings include mild fresh cheeses such as chevre and ricotta, herbs such as arugula, citrus, chiles, fennel and basil, bacon, lamb and grilled seafood such as shrimp and scallops. Prunes can be paired with dates, fresh and dried figs, pistachios, ice cream, soaked in brandy, added to sauces and glazes for meats, paired with salad greens and fresh cheeses, and showcased in cakes, tarts and pastries.
Italian Plum Storage
To store fresh Italian plums, refrigerate ripe fruit for up to one week. To store prunes, keep in an airtight container in cool, dry storage.
Source: Specialty Produce