What is your favorite plum for making prunes? Favorite for making jams and sauces?

I currently have Santa Rosa and Toka plum trees. Neither mature enough to fruit yet. I know any plum can be dried to make prunes, but I am wondering if people have their favorites. Same for jams, jellies and sauces. I’ve seen Damson mentioned a few times as a good plum for making prunes.

I know Italian prune has a fantastic flavor when cooked and makes a surprising red color. It’s fruity and not like dried prunes.

A local gelato place used to make sorbet from it, and it was beautiful and delicious.


We have a generic “Italian prune plum” which just looks a lot like any other you might see: not very large, oval, deep purple. When fully ripe they’re fairly sweet but still sharp. We haven’t dried them, but a friend has some very like ours and he dries some very nicely.

It’s my understanding that prune plums need a high sugar content so that they can be dried with the pit and still not spoil, and of course being small, oval, and a little acid probably helps them along too.

We love ours for fresh eating and jam; they cook down into a nice sauce for pork if you just throw them in the skillet.


I wish I could get gelato like I had in Italy.

This isn’t the place I was talking about with the plum sorbet, but their gelato is sublime. I’m especially partial to the hazelnut:

edit: I think those are actually green gages he’s picking there for sorbetto, not figs for gelato.


Hazelnut gelato sounds awesome. None of the gelato I have tried in the states has even come close to the gelato I had in Italy. My oldest daughter and I loved it so much we stopped at nearly every shop as we walked around the cities.

Well this guy is really serious about his gelato, comes from Italy, says its using traditional Italian methods, and the gelato speaks for itself.

I’ll have to give it a try if I ever make it back to Portland. If there is a Portland to get back to. I have to make a trip to Multnomah Falls every time I go there.

Well, I canned Methley plums this year in a mixture of vinegar, sugar and water. After canning they tasted like prunes. Don’t really like the taste of prunes but I guess that I will eat them.

Also, used them to can jam which I really liked.

Italian prune plums can up wonderfully! They make wonderful baked goods. And, of course, prunes.

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Multnomah falls might be harder than Portland. It got messed with in the fires a couple of years ago, and isn’t set up for parking and distancing. I think people need to park on Freeway shoulder or something now.

That’s sad. I have been there several times. I walked the trail up to the top of the falls a couple times.

We really enjoy tart jam and sauce made with Burbank plums.

There are many varieties of prune plus that vary in their performance, especially region to region. Probably the best plum for prunes here would be Empress of varieties I’ve tried, simply for it’s reliable production and the common ability of prune plums to get up very high sugar when left to fully ripen. You may be in a cold enough spot to make Mt. Royal a good choice. It takes a pretty long season to properly ripen Empress. Castleton is also very reliable. Both of the latter are relatively small compared to Empress. Japanese plums just don’t tend to get high enough sugar to be good prunes I suspect.

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If I can keep the squirrels out of them (failing at this so far) I might get a good crop of Brooks plums this year. Will be interesting to see what I can make of them


I’ll have to look into Empress. I’ve read good things about Castleton. Everything I’ve read about Mt. Royal indicates that it is not very productive.

I only manage Mt.Royal at one site with two trees and the problem is that it consistently over sets fruit. It is as reliable as Castleton there. It is supposed to be the most cold-hardy of prune plums we have so it’s reputation for light bearing may be that it grows where others don’t so flowers don’t get cross pollinated.


Where are you located Alan? I tried looking at your profile, but it doesn’t show your growing zone or location.

Mark, I did plant an Italian this spring hoping I will have enough days and heat to ripen it. My Mount royal is in it’s “on” year this year. Please expound on “just throw them in a skillet” How long? what temp? Do I need to add water or oil? Sugar? Anything else? It’s not often I have extra plums to play with.

Actually I wouldn’t mind trying it as sauce for bbq either care o elaborate?