Native Plums

Got our first ever harvest from a native plum bush I planted years ago and now I am wondering what to do with them.

I suspect that our growing season is a bit shorter than this plum variety would like, because the leaves on the tree have all turned and dropped but the fruit was still hanging. Not soft/ripe yet, but at least not as green as they were a few weeks ago. We picked them today because I thought that with no more leaves on the tree, not much chance of them ripening more, and it is supposed to be very windy then snow; so it seemed like now or never.

These plums are small, maybe a inch long and 5/8" in diam at the widest. Very tart. And have mostly turned purple.

So my questions are first what to do with them. Cook with some sugar? Any other suggestions?

Second question is, was I too hasty, would these native plums have ripened more even though the tree went dormant for the season?


What growing zone are you in? Our native plums matured a month or more ago. Most of the leaves have dropped off our plums now. Native plums are tart and bitter where I am, I think that is the norm for what I know. Most plums are made into jam here, with lots of sugar added.

Zone 5a here. Typically we are 1 month behind places at lower elevation with similar min temps, so these ripening by you a month ago seems about right.

Just curious, do you ripen them on the tree usually, do they get soft when ripe?

Those picked for jam here are picked by color, purple. They seem to stay firm until they rot.

Hi, glad to see another mention of our Native Plums. I spoke with you last Spring about them, and hope to get 3 or 4 Plums and 2 Apple trees next Spring. Here the topic is purple plums, and what I’m looking for are the red/yellow sweeter variety. Small trees around 7 feet, and suckering. As kid I roamed the farm eating my way down ditches for Dewberries, thickets for plums, and to the middle of a field for an amazing June Apple that you down had to catch before they went mealy… Miss them all and hope to get them started on my city lot. June Apple I think I have, hope to get the plums from you next Spring, and may take a short trip and chech the ditches for the dewberries. Neck surgery has taken most of my summer, so I’m running behind this year and checking the progress all you are making. My in ground Chicago Hardy has given me 40 figs to snack on, just in time before the cold hits!