September 13, 2011

July Cornucopia by Steve Robe



Plum Good Eating

They range
in color from green and yellow to red, blue, purple, and almost black.  Grown on every continent except Antarctica, plums have been around for thousands of
years.  The ancient Chinese were the
first to cultivate the plum, with much success.
Early European explorers, upon tasting the sweet, juicy Asian plum,
triumphantly brought it back home, where it has been enjoyed ever since.

Plum pits
traveled to the New World with Europe’s first
settlers.  Until the pits were planted
and the trees bore fruit, the settlers were forced to turn to the wild, native
American plum.  With anticipation, they
incorporated the plums into a feast that was to be the first American
Thanksgiving meal.  Unfortunately, this
untamed plum proved to be a disappointment.
Rather than eat the inferior fruit, the pilgrims simply did without  until their prized European plums became
established.  Luckily for us, today’s
plums are plentiful and delicious.  A
splash of color in any salad or dessert, the juicy plum is just plum good


Origin and History

            The plum is native to ancient China and western Asia.  The story of the plum is thousands of years
old.  Grown in ancient Egypt, they
were devoured as fresh fruit.  Dried as
prunes, plums were also found in the tombs of many important Egyptian citizens.

Plums were
also appreciated by the Romans, who lauded their sweet flavor and gratefully
acknowledged their laxative virtues, which are located in the skin of the
plum.  At the height of the Roman Empire, the populace could pick from no less that
300 varieties of plums.

In the
Middle Ages, the word plum was used to mean any dried fruit, including
raisins.  Hence traditional English plum
pudding contains raisins and dried currants and even suet.  It did not, however, contain any actual plums
at all.  To this day, traditional plum
pudding is made with out any trace of a plum.


Health Claims


  • Are high in antioxidant content (phenols,
    specifically neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acid
  • Are rich in vitamins A and C
  • Contain a respectable amount of heart-healthy
  • Are a good source of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
  • Are  high
    in insoluble fiber
  • Promote intestinal and digestive health
  • Help reduce the risk of colon cancer
  • Are a good source of copper, needed for energy

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