When Are Plums In Season?

Plums are classic summer fruits that you can find at produce stalls, farmer’s markets and grocery stores during the warmer months. But when are plums in season?

When Are Plums In Season?

While the peak season for plums runs from June to August, there are also plum varieties that can ripen as early as May or as late as November. In this guide, we discover when individual varieties of plums are in season and when you can enjoy the sweetest fruit.

When Is Plum Season?

Plum season is from June until August in the United States. However, there are some states that have a much longer plum season from May to November, such as California and Kansas.

While you can find plums in many large grocery stores all year round, the sweetest varieties only taste best when they are in season. Plums out of season are usually stored in low temperatures and harvested before they are ripe.

This significantly affects their flavor making them taste less fresh and sweet. The exact time of year for plum season depends on where you live, the weather conditions and the plum variety.

Plums come in a large range of shades and colors. Each one can vary slightly depending on where the plums are harvested.

Plum Season By Plum Variety

There are over 2,00 varieties of plums around the world but we grow only 100 different types of plum trees in America. Over half of these varieties can be found in Northern California where most of the plum harvest for the country comes from.

This being said, there are two main plum varieties that are most popular with growers and consumers: European varieties and Japanese varieties.

European Plum Season

Originally from the Caspian Sea, early pilgrims brought these varieties to the United States in the 17th Century. At this time, 90% of the US plums were grown in California because the trees needed a warmer climate.

With the introduction of the European plum, farmers could also grow plums in the cooler climate around the Midwest. This also led to an earlier plum season in these states. Today, European plum varieties, such as Moyer, Damson and Mirabelle, are mostly found in California.

The individual plums ripen later in the year, so they are ready for harvest between July and October. However, this strongly depends on the specific variety and the weather conditions.

Japanese Plum Season

Native to China and Japan, Japanese plum varieties were introduced to US growers during the 19th Century. These plums have a purple or dark red color when they are fully ripened.

Their waxy appearance with a white-blue skin makes them a beautiful fruit to look at. Japanese plums, such as Friar, Santa Rosa and El Dorado plums, are typically early spring fruits because they can be harvested in May and June.

Plum Season By State

When Are Plums In Season?

California is the biggest producer of plums in the United States. Californian plums are harvested from May until November. However, you can also find plums in other US states. Here is an overview of when you can expect plums in your state.

  • Alabama: July until August
  • Alaska: Mid-September
  • Arizona: June until August
  • Arkansas: June until August
  • California: May until November
  • Colorado: June until mid-September
  • Connecticut: Mid-July until September
  • Delaware: August until September
  • Florida: Mid-May until mid-July
  • Georgia: July until August
  • Hawaii: Mid-March until July
  • Idaho: August until September
  • Illinois: June until October
  • Indiana: Mid-July until mid-August
  • Iowa: July until August
  • Kansas: Mid-June until mid-November
  • Maine: Mid-September
  • Maryland: Mid-July until mid-September
  • Massachusetts: August until September
  • Michigan: Mid-August until mid-September
  • Minnesota: January until March and July until December
  • Mississippi: Mid-May until July
  • Missouri: Mid-June until October
  • Montana: July until August
  • Nebraska: July until August
  • Nevada: July until August
  • New Hampshire: Mid-July until mid-August
  • New Jersey: July until August
  • New Mexico: July until September
  • New York: July until September
  • North Carolina: June until August
  • North Dakota: July until August
  • Ohio: July until mid-October
  • Oklahoma: May until July
  • Oregon: August until September
  • Pennsylvania: August until September
  • Rhode Island: August until mid-October
  • South Carolina: May until August
  • South Dakota: Mid-September
  • Tennessee: June until September
  • Texas: May until September
  • Utah: July until October
  • Vermont: August until September
  • Virginia: Mid-July until September
  • Washington: August until September
  • West Virginia: July until August
  • Wisconsin: September until October
  • Wyoming: July until August

Can You Buy Plums In Winter?

Yes, many large grocery stores also have fruit that is out of season, including cherries and plums.

However, it is important to keep in mind that these year-round plums are either imported from other countries or they are not the sweet varieties that you can usually get between May and November.

How To Tell If Your Plums Are Ripe?

If you want to make sure that the plums you buy are ripe, then there are a few different ways you can check.

Look For A Vibrant Color

Depending on the variety, your plum should be either dark purple, red or bright yellow. There are different shades of a plum but your fruit should never be green or it is not ripe yet. The plum should also have a uniform color without too many patches or blemishes.

Check For A Sweet Fragrance

Ripe plums have a gentle sweet smell. Just put your nose close to the top of the plum and check if you get a fruity aroma. If you can’t smell anything, then your plum is likely still unripe and you should leave it to ripen for a few more days.

Squeeze The Fruit

If you are not sure about the color and smell of the plum, then you can also tell the fruit’s ripeness from a gentle squeeze.

Gently press your thumb on the plum’s surface and check if it feels soft. Just make sure that the skin is still smooth as wrinkly skin could indicate that your plum is overripe.

Final Thoughts

With their dark color and deliciously sweet flesh, plums are a fantastic summer fruit. Thanks to a long harvest season, you can find plums from May to November.

Valentina Hernandez
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