Last year marked the first National Plum Day, which aimed to restore the British fruit to plum position.
This year, the celebratory day takes place on 24th August, where a calendar of activities to acknowledge the occasion will attract people of all ages to engage in some plum fun.
The Perfection of Plums
Until recently, plums had become a forgotten fruit. But thanks to National Plum Day, people are starting to rethink the perfection of plums. Plums are delicious in sweet and savoury dishes, eaten as a snack or in a main dish or dessert – plus they are bursting with vitamins and antioxidants!
The health benefits of plums include:
- Plums are low in calories, but contain over 15 different vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, copper and manganese. They also contain plenty of fibre.
- Helpful for reducing inflammation and protecting your cells from damage by free radicals, plums are rich in polyphenol antioxidants. These antioxidants have a positive impact on bones and lower the risk of heart disease.
- In fact, plums have been studied for their potential to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which are contributory factors to heart disease.
Plums also have properties that may help lower blood sugar. Despite being relatively high in carbohydrates, plums don’t seem to cause a significant rise in blood sugar levels after being consumed. This is attributed to their ability to increase the levels of adiponectin in the body – a hormone that plays a part in blood sugar regulation.
Angela Taylor, National Plum Day organiser, says:
“Plums were once the nation’s favourite fruit and for good reason, they even helped win WW1 as jars of plum jam kept the troops in the trenches going. Plums are packed with nutrients and antioxidants, said to help control obesity and diabetes, aid digestion and are great for skincare – to name but a few benefits. What’s more, we grow them here in the UK, yet many plum orchards have fallen into neglect.
“We want to see this versatile fruit top shopping lists and restaurant menus again and National Plum Day is the perfect place to start”.
To commemorate National Plum Day, why not make a delicious fruity plum tart? This recipe, adapted from a Jamie Oliver creation, is a tasty way to make the most of this juicy fruit.
275g Plain Flour
2tbsp Icing Sugar
130g Butter (Softened)
3 Free Range Egg Yolks
Caster Sugar, for Sprinkling
50g Flaked Almonds
100g Caster Sugar
3 tbsp Cornflour
- Sift the flour and icing sugar into a bowl. Add the softened butter and combine until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add 2 of the egg yolks, along with 50ml of cold water. Combine the ingredients until you have a dough.
- Put the dough onto a clean, floured surface and knead it for approximately a minute, until smooth. You can add additional flour if required. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and roll them out into circles. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for about 45 minutes.
- Once chilled, roll out one of the pieces of pastry so it can be pressed into the base and sides of a 23cm pie tin. Once in the tin, pop it back in the fridge until it’s ready to be filled. With the other circle of pastry, roll it out and slice it into long, even strips – all approximately 2cm wide. Put these to one side.
- To make the filling, put the almonds in a frying pan and toast them until golden. Quarter the plums and put them in a bowl, along with the almonds, sugar and butter. Stir well.
- Put the plum mixture into the chilled pastry case. Arrange the strips of pastry over the top. Be sure to seal all edges. Brush the remaining egg yolk over the pastry. Sprinkle with a little additional sugar.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6. Bake the pie in the centre for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4, then bake for a further 20 minutes. Bake until golden brown.
- Remove the pie from the oven and sprinkle with some additional sugar.
- Leave to set, then serve a couple of hours later.
If you’re looking to grow your own plums at home, head to Van Hage in PE1 for their range of gardening equipment, compost, seeds and plants. Their expert team can also advise on what types of fruit and veg will be most suited to your outdoor space, and how best to cultivate these to get tasty results!