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The family includes damsons, greengages and the mirabelle plums of Eastern France.
Botanically, the plum is a one-seeded fleshy drupe. They can vary from 3 - 8cm/1 in - 3 ins in size, and their skin can be any colour between green through yellow and red to black. Not all are good to ear raw, as many have a sharp flavour unless cooked or processed.
Plums are rich in vitamin A, especially the purple ones, and also contain a good supply of mineral salts. They make excellent jams and jellies, and the mirabelle can be used in any recipe calling for apricots - and also make a fine 'eau de vie'.
Plums are one of the fruits that can be picked slightly under-ripe and will continue to ripen in a warm room. When dried they are known as prunes.