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Do Plums Need to be Refrigerated?

Frozen plums on a glass bowl.

Plums, no matter how sweet and flavorful, must be handled with care if you want them to last. They’ll spoil faster if you store them incorrectly, and they’ll lose their sweetness and become mealy if you do.

The following are guidelines for storing and ripening fresh fruit. When storing fruits, keep them out of direct sunlight and heat, preferably on a countertop. The ripening process can be accelerated by high humidity.

After being picked, plums continue to ripen. After they have softened and smelled sweet, store plums at room temperature away from sunlight and heat. Refrigerate plums once they’re ripe to keep them fresh longer, but note that freezing them will alter their texture and flavor.

How Long Do Plums Last?

To a large extent, the answer to that question is determined by how the plums are stored after they are purchased.

When kept at a normal room temperature, plums will ripen in 2 to 3 days if properly stored. Put the plums in a brown paper bag, seal it, and leave them on the counter to ripen faster.

Keep ripe plums out of the refrigerator until they are very ripe. This produces more flavorful, juicy plums. Refrigerate fully ripe plums to extend their shelf life; bring the plums to room temperature before using for best results. Plums that are fully ripe can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3–5 days.

Can you Freeze Raw Plums?

Yes and here’s how:

  • Wash and leave whole
  • In a saucepan, combine 2 3/4 cups sugar and 4 cups water and heat until the solution is clear
  • Allow to cool
  • Place plums in covered airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags with the syrup.
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This method works and it will keep the plums in their best quality for 10 to 12 months when properly stored.

How Can You Tell if Plums are Spoiled?

When plums spoil, they become soft, develop dark spots, and ooze. Discard any plums that show signs of mold, smell bad, or look bad.

Do Cherry Plums Need to be Refrigerated?

Cherry Plums, as the name suggests, are a cross between these two popular fruits. Assuming they’re not overripe, plums keep for about a week in the refrigerator.

Storing Unripe Plums

Good plums can be purchased or picked. When shopping for plums, look for ones that don’t have any blemishes, discolorations, or soft spots. Since plums can be ripened in your own kitchen, your main concern should be selecting plums from a good batch – even if they’re still a little hard.

Fill a paper bag with the unripe plums. Unless your plums are fragrant and soft to the touch, they need a few days to ripen outside of the refrigerator. Fruits that are ripening release ethylene into the air. By putting them in a paper bag, you create a gas bubble around the plums, which accelerates the ripening process.

Keep unripe plums away from the fridge. In a cold climate, the ripening process will be halted, and you’ll be left with tasteless, mealy plums.

Rather than putting the plums in a paper bag, set them out in a bowl on the counter to ripen when you have time. They’ll ripen in about an extra day.

Allow the plums to ripen in the refrigerator. They’ll ripen faster if you keep them between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit when not in use. Wait to put them away until they’re fully ripe before storing them in a cooler environment.

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Be careful not to overheat the plums by putting them in a sunny window; this will accelerate rotting.

Ripeness should be checked on the plums. Pluck a plum and take a whiff. If so, do they have a luscious scent? Feel the juicy plums in your hands. When you press your thumb into the sides, do they indent a little? This means the plums are ripe and ready to be eaten or stored for the future. As the skin of the plums begins to ripen, it develops a dusty appearance.

Prevent the plums from becoming overripe by picking them before they become soft or the juice starts leaking from the skin.

Storing Ripe Plums

Refrigerate ripe plums to preserve their freshness. You’ll prevent rapid degeneration by doing this. Do not use a sealed plastic bag; instead, use an open one. Plums keep for two to four weeks in the refrigerator.

Do not store anything that has a strong odor in your refrigerator. After a few days, plums begin to smell like the refrigerator. Dispose of them by placing them in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer.

Store plums in old egg cartons to avoid bruising. It works with one plum per egg space. To avoid damaging the plums, avoid storing anything heavier than light produce on top of them.

Eat plums as soon as you get them, whether you picked them or bought them. Plums can be kept for a few weeks in the refrigerator, but they’re at their best when they’re still warm from the tree. It’s best to consume them as soon as possible after they’ve ripened.

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If you have a lot of plums on hand, make a plum cake to celebrate the bounty of summer’s plums, or use vodka-infused plums as an ice cream topping. If you have small children, make a healthy summer treat out of plum puree. If you have spoiled plums, don’t throw them out; stewing them is a tasty alternative.

Final Thoughts

If you wish to preserve plums for a few weeks, then you certainly need to refrigerate them. If you keep ripe plums at room temperature, they will go bad in a day or two therefore it is important to put them in the refrigerator. If you want to keep plums safe for months, then freezing them is the best option for you. Frozen plums generally last a year but they may even remain good after that.

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