The most important etiquette rules on how to serve and eat plums. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest at the dining table.

fresh Plums

What plum etiquette is

Plum etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat plums. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect your hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow plum etiquette to serve it to your guests appropriately.

If you are a guest, respect plum etiquette rules to properly eat and enjoy it.

What you should know about plums

A plum is a fruit from the eponymous tree. Plums grow all around the world. China is the largest grower, accounting for 50% of the global production. Other large growers areas are the Balkans and South-Eastern Europe.

There are many varieties of plums. Fruits are usually round to oval in shape. Their color can range from yellow or green to purple. Their flesh has a juicy and firm texture. The skin is smooth with a white waxy coating on ripe fruits. Plums are sweet to tart in flavor, depending on the variety. Inside, plums have a single large stone.

How To Serve And Eat plums

Etiquette tips to serve and eat plums

1) How to store plums

Store whole plums out of the fridge if they are not ripe. Store them in a cool place. Away from sources of heat or direct light. Keep them there for 2 to 3 days, until they ripen.

Store ripe plums in the fridge. Avoid placing them in a sealed container. Do not wrap them in plastic. They will last about 4 or 5 days. Sliced plums can last up to 2 or 3 days.

In the freezer, plums will last for 10 or 12 months.

2) How to clean plums

Always wash an uncut plum before eating it or slicing it. Even a quick wash decreases the risk of contamination from pesticides or other chemicals. 

Place the plums in a bowl of water. Leave them there for 5 to 10 minutes. Then, wash them under running water. Dry them on a kitchen cloth.

3) How to prepare plums

Cut the plum in halves with a knife. Slice the fruit all around the stone. Then, separate the two halves and remove the stone. Finally, slice the fruit into chunks.

You can keep or remove the skin. Usually, it is best to keep it. The skin of the plum is tart in flavor, and contributes to the overall aroma of the fruit.

Fresh plums are perfect for making jam or sauces. Use them in fruit salads. You can add them on top of ice cream or mix them with yogurt and cereal. Squeeze fresh, sliced plums with lemon juice to prevent them from turning dark. 

Plums are ideal for cooking. Bake them in tarts, crumbles, or pies.

Plums are also a great ingredient for fresh juices. Plum wine is obtained from fermented plum juice.  

4) How to serve & present plums

You can serve plums for breakfast, a snack, or as a fruit course after a meal. 

If you serve them whole, present them washed, in a serving bowl. If you serve them in chunks, present sliced plums with a serving spoon. Alternatively, you can serve sliced plums in small individual cups. It is best to keep the skin. 

Serve plums at room temperature. Take them out of the fridge between 30 minutes and 1 hour before serving. 

5) Food and wine to pair plums with

The aroma of plums matches well with many flavors. Ginger. Vanilla. Cinnamon. Honey. Black pepper.

Plums can go well with savory dishes. Match them with pork meat, Prosciutto, roasted poultry, or duck. Serve them to accompany some cheeses, such as Brie or goat cheese. Add them to yogurt, Kefir, or ice cream. 

Plums are ideal in fruit salads. Combine them with citric fruits, such as lemon or lime. Berries such as blueberries or raspberries. Other stone fruits, like apricots, apples, peaches, or nectarines. 

They pair well with nuts too. Such as almonds, chestnuts, or hazelnuts.

Pair plums with a red Merlot or a white Sauvignon Blanc. Plums go well with bourbon or fortified wines, such as port.

6) How to eat plums

When plums are served whole, place one on your plate. Cut the plum in halves with a knife. Slice the fruit all around the kernel. Then, separate the two halves and remove the kernel. You can discard the skin, or keep it and eat it. Eat the plum with a fork and a knife.

Eat a whole plum in bites only on very informal occasions. 

If the plums are served in chunks or slices, eat them with a small spoon or a fork. 

plum etiquette mistakes

Plum etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the worst plum etiquette mistakes. 

  • 8/10. Serving spoiled plums.
  • 8/10. Serving unwashed plums.
  • 7/10. Eating plums in bites on formal occasions.
  • 7/10. Serving unripe plums.

Additional information for properly serving plums

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.

Plums contain 46 calories per 100 grams. A single raw plum weighs around 66 grams and contains about 30 calories.

How to buy the best plums

A crucial factor in plum etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.

Season and availability 

The season for plums starts in the late summer and goes on until October. However, plums grow in countries all around the world. Thus, they are available all year round.

Choose the best

Ripe plums have smooth skin with a white waxy coating. They should be firm and yield a little give. If the fruit is soft around the stem, it is overripe.

Alternatives to plums

The best substitutes for plums are peaches, nectarines, or apricots.