Exploring Minnesota’s Unique Plum Varieties: Why Are They Overlooked?
Minnesota, known for its frigid winters and fertile soil, might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of plums. However, the state is home to several distinct plum varieties that have adapted to its unique climate. In this article, we’ll delve into seven Minnesota plum varieties, examining what makes them special and why they are not as widely used as other fruit options. Plus, we’ll reveal the top pick for the best-tasting plum among these unique choices.
Minnesota Plum Varieties
Alderman Plum: Alderman Plums are medium-sized, round fruits with a reddish-purple skin and yellow flesh. They are prized for their sweet flavor and are excellent for fresh eating or making jams and jellies. Unfortunately, they are not as popular as some other plum varieties due to their susceptibility to disease, which makes them challenging to cultivate in large quantities.
Black Ice Plum: The Black Ice Plum is a hardy cultivar known for its cold resistance. These plums are medium-sized, deep purple-black in color, and have a sweet, juicy flavor. Their resilience makes them ideal for Minnesota’s harsh winters, but their limited availability in stores is due to their relatively small production compared to more common plum varieties.
La Crescent Plum: La Crescent Plums are small, golden-yellow fruits with a mild, sweet flavor reminiscent of honey. They are often used in baking, preserves, or enjoyed fresh. Despite their delightful taste, these plums remain relatively unknown outside of local markets, primarily due to their small size and the challenge of growing them in larger quantities.
Mount Royal Plum: Mount Royal Plums are medium-sized, red-purple plums with a tart, sweet flavor. They are versatile and can be eaten fresh, dried, or used in cooking. Their limited popularity can be attributed to the fact that they are not as well-suited to long-distance transportation and have a shorter shelf life compared to some other plum varieties.
Pipestone Plum: Pipestone Plums are small, round, and have a reddish-purple skin with yellow flesh. These plums are known for their tartness and are often used in cooking or making jams and sauces. Despite their unique flavor profile, they remain less common due to their limited distribution and susceptibility to pests.
Superior Plum: Superior Plums are medium-sized, blue-black plums with sweet, juicy flesh. While they are well-adapted to Minnesota’s climate, they are less popular due to their relatively low sugar content compared to other plum varieties. Nonetheless, they are still enjoyed by those who appreciate their unique taste.
Toka Plum: Toka Plums, also known as “Bubblegum Plums,” are medium-sized, round plums with a reddish-orange skin and sweet, almost candy-like flavor. They are the most popular of the Minnesota plum varieties, but they are still not as well-known as mainstream plum types. Toka Plums are often used in fresh eating, baking, or making jams, earning their reputation as one of the tastiest Minnesota plums.
The Best for Eating
Among these unique Minnesota plum varieties, the Toka Plum stands out as the best for fresh eating. Its sweet, candy-like flavor and vibrant color make it a delightful choice for snacking, baking, or incorporating into various dishes. While the other plums have their unique qualities, the Toka Plum’s exceptional taste and versatility make it a favorite among those who have had the pleasure of trying it.
Minnesota’s lesser-known plum varieties may not enjoy the same level of popularity as their more common counterparts, but they offer a range of distinct flavors and characteristics that make them worth exploring. Whether you prefer the sweetness of the Toka Plum or the tartness of the Pipestone Plum, these locally grown fruits showcase the adaptability of nature and the unique flavors that can thrive in Minnesota’s challenging climate. So, the next time you come across one of these Minnesota plums, give it a try and savor the taste of the North Star State.