Beach plum recipes? And one booze recipe

My grandma had a house on the peconic bay in long island, NY. Every year she would make beach plum jam from the wild beach plums that grew all around her house. She would also make beach plum vodka, and beach plum syrup. Beach plums have such a distinct flavor, and honestly make some of the tastiest processed foods I can think of. Beach plum jam is my most favorite of all jams.

My grandma passed away a few years ago, and I haven’t been to her house in a while, so I haven’t been able to eat any beach plum things in a few years (my aunties share her house now). But, I’m going to go visit next week! It should be prime beach plum picking time at my grandma’s old house, and I intend to make as many beach plum things as possible while I’m there, to load up on both nostalgia and deliciousness. My problem is that my grandma never wrote down her recipes, and made everything by eye.

Does anyone have a good beach plum jam recipe they could share?

Beach plums have such a different flavor from regular plums that I don’t think a regular plum jam recipe would work. And I have never really made jam before, so I don’t feel confident that I can eyeball it like my grandma did. My aunties do still have her old food mill, though, so at least I won’t have hand-pit all the beach plums!!!

I can, however, share the general method for making beach plum vodka. A finer liqueur has never been invented! Here’s the basic method:

Beach Plum Vodka:


½ gallon of vodka (1.75 liters)

Beach plums

2 ½ to 3 cups sugar (total)


Empty booze from bottle.

Fill bottle a quarter of the way with beach plums.

Add 1 inch of sugar to the top of the beach plums.

Re-fill bottle with vodka.

Let sit for six weeks.

Add sugar to taste over the six weeks.

Occasionally alternate bottle from standing up to lying down (helps the sugar dissolve) over the six weeks.

Remove booze and beach plums from bottle.

Strain beach plums.

Return the booze back into the bottle.


Pro-tip: if you have one of those big infusion jugs with a spout, you can just add the vodka, beach plums, and sugar to the jug and pour it out of the spout after six weeks. It’s a lot less messy this way.


Thanks for the liqueur recipe! I’m hoping my beach plums start producing in a few years, and I’ll get to try that out.

As for jam recipes, you don’t have to worry too much about a specific recipe for specific fruit. If you have a general understanding of the principles (and a kitchen scale), you can wing it pretty easily. Check out the article below. It explains it in an easy to understand way, and gives some good guidelines to start with. Beach plums are high pectin, high acid fruits, so they’re easy to make jam from. If you include some slightly underripe plums, you’ll definitely have enough pectin and probably won’t have to adjust the acidity.


I’d probably start by putting the plums in a pot with just enough water to keep them from scorching. Bring it to a simmer and then cook on medium low until the plums are all burst (15-20 min). Then, run the plums through your food mill and weigh the pulp. Calculate 40% of the weight and add that much sugar. Taste for acidity, add more sugar if you think it needs it, then proceed as normal for making jam. I like to cook it hot and fast to get rid of excess water before the flavor dulls, but others swear by low and slow.

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If you go and have a chance to send me some seed, I will swap my wild plum seed for a chance to get some of those. Here are pics of various Prunus Americana I grow, and I hope to expand my collection.
First pic all cherry plum. You can graft any variety to it. Second pic is Prunus Americana and Cheery plum, third pic is a green ripening wild plum. All very sweet and cross pollinating.

Kent, wa


Thanks! I’m a little nervous to experiment, but at least I have the basics.

I think my grandma must have used the low and slow method? My memories are of her simmering the jam for like an hour or so. But, fingers crossed, they’re will be enough beach plums that I can try both ways.

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I’d be happy to send you some seeds.

FYI: the beach plums near my grandma’s old house are pretty scrubby, mostly low bushy type things with deep purple/blue beach plums that are about the size of a very large blueberry or small cherry. They’re pretty tart and astringent until they are dead ripe, but then they taste pretty good out of hand. The tallest bush is maybe 8 or 9 feet tall, and has been there for at least 20 years, and it’s still productive. Most of the other bushes are closer to 3 or 4 feet tall, but aren’t as old as the one tall bush. No one has ever pruned them or taken care of them in any way, and they’ve produced many beach plums every year without fail. I’ll post some pictures next week when I get there.

Thanks for the offer to swap, but I’ve never grown seedlings before, I wouldn’t even know what to do with the seeds!


That’s what I grew up with in W Tn. Our native wild plums fit your description. So chances are they are very similar. I am hoping to get a large collection to plant nearby on a neglected terrain where the highway department does nothing to enhance the sunny hillside. So far I have only the 4 varieties in my pics, but I hope to keep this project open as a lifetime endeavor to try to bring back what we lost when our native plum thickets in W Tn vanished.
Let me know the postage and if I can do anything else to help you. BTW my mother made plum jelly from the wild plums that ripened in a rainbow of colors before they went extinct. She would use apple Peelings to add pectin to thicken it.

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If you could take a photo of the thicket showing the fruit that would be interesting to me. The wild plums I grew up with were many colors red to yellow when ripe.

Beach plums are similar to American plum, but they are a distinct species with a distinct flavor. They are more tolerant of low fertility and salt spray. In the wild, they’re found almost exclusivity on sand dunes and bluffs from Maine to Maryland, but they’ll grow well inland under cultivation. They also do best in cool maritime climates, so I suspect they’d do well for you in coastal WA.

I may be at the beach tomorrow and can take some photos. Also look here-

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Plums have such a wide range of flavors. One of the most diverse groups of fruit around. I’m trying to grow a cross of beach plums and American plum. Mostly for root stock. I myself prefer pluots. The flavors are rich and complex in many of them. Although I like the flavor of the Dapple series of pluots the most. All the same I like growing all kinds of fruits. I search for flavors I can work with. I have found many I love.
On recipes I think plum recipes would work well myself. Mrs G just posted a fine plum tart recipe. I want to try it with Nadia the sweet cherry x Japanese plum cross.

I like crisps, crumbles, or flips. Thousands of recipes out there. I love Jed this one but I cook it in a pan as one piece like a normal crisp.

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I love tarts and crumbles and crisps, but the idea of hand-pitting a zillion tiny beach plums makes my heart sad. Unless they’re is some mass-pitting method I don’t know of?

That being said, I do have mature black consort currants and pixwell gooseberries and Saturn peaches in my yard, so I can approximate the crisp recipe next summer when those are all ripe again! I also have a Hollywood plum in my yard, it’s not bearing yet, but hopefully it will start next year and I can try Mrs. G’s tart then.

I have never tried a Nadia! I hope your tart turns out good! You should post a picture when you make it!

A cherry pitter may be what’s needed. I lost Hollywood I only ever got one fruit. I liked it. Cool tree too. I’m looking for scion. I deal with fruit with big seeds by simmering them for 20 minutes and then using a fine sieve or if I want the pulp use a food mill on raw or simmered fruit.

Here is my visit to some wild beach plums by Long Island Sound August 31.

Heartbreak and sadness! The beach plums at my grandma’s house are plentiful, but they are not ripe, and they will not likely be ready before I go home in 5 days. So no beachplum nostalgia deliciousness for me.:sob:

I have some pics, one of the biggest bush, two of the plentiful unripe plums, and one of the single ripe plum I found to show how very dark they get when ripe.

DennisD: I don’t think I’ll be able to send you seeds, since I don’t think the seeds would be viable yet? Unless you think the seeds would be good already?


Hi Dennis,
Theses are very nice, all three, if you have an opportunity to pick about 5-10 each and take with you, I would pay postage for the seed.

Actually most plums when that mature will ripen once picked and just kept indooors at room temps. So I would like to have all 3 varieties if you are willing to obtain for me. Let them ripen and see if they are more edible, then extract the seeds to ship once dried.
I am quite certain that would work.

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Can do! Message me your address?


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Redemption! A few of the bushes nearby are ripe! I filled a 10 quart pot about 2/3 full with ripe beachplums, including a handful of green ones for pectin.

I also found a single branch of golden ripe beach plums, which I added to the pot. I have never seen golden beachplums before! My whole family was very excited by them, so we ended up eating most of the golden ones out of hand. They are less pungent then the dark purple ones. The purple ones almost have a black-currant like flavor to them, mixed with plum flavors, and a deep sugary almost caramel like flavor. The golden ones are just kind of mild and generically sweet with almost no tang to them.

DennisD: I took some seeds from the bushes with the tastiest plums. Also some seeds from the one very tall bush, even though those weren’t quite ripe yet. I’ll send them to you when I get home next week.



Huzzah! I’m glad to hear that you got some ripe ones.

I’ve seen the golden ones before. Your description is spot on. Very sweet and mild, but not really much of a distinctive flavor. Quite a contrast from the purple ones!

I’m glad too! But, oh man, jam-making is hard! That big pot of beachplums only yielded four jars of jam! Between the initial boil, then the time it took to food-mill out all the seeds, then the time it took to simmer everything down until it got to a nice jammy consistency, then jarring and water bathing the jars… it probably took about four hours to make! That doesn’t even count the time finding the random ripe bush and picking all the plums.

I legit thought that big pot would make like 10 jars of jam, but all that time and effort for four jars?!?

That being said… The jam is SO GOOD!!! I’m definitely going to savor it sparingly over the next year until I can make some more! The perfect combination of sweet, tart, and “dark-tasting”… I don’t know a better way to describe it. It’s like nothing else. Definitely worth the effort.

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