Orchards in California grow plums, which are highly sought after by people in the US and several other countries. There are many varieties of plums grown and available in the market. A few known varieties of yellow or golden plums are the Early Golden, Mirabelle, Golden Nectar and Shiro. The Shiro is a favorite of most growers in Californian orchards.
The Early Golden is a very succulent and sweet plum while the Mirabelle is smaller European plum. Shiro, a Japanese plum, is moderate in its size and has a skin which is basically yellow with a blush of pink. The pulp is sweet and succulent, while the taste is tart in the pit. While most other varieties are freestone plums, the Shiro is a clingstone type of plum. This variety is graded as the best by Jim Kratz from the US Department of Agriculture Service Center.
One consideration to be borne in mind which choosing a cultivar is pollination requirement. While some varieties self-pollinate, others need an over-lap of a minimum of 2 cultivars with an over-lapping blooming period in order to cross-pollinate. Plum trees bear fruits after 3 to 5 years of being planted. The maximum yield is around the 10th year, while duration to bear fruits is fifteen to twenty years. The yield varies between 3 and 5 bushels, depending on the cultivar. Trees can be picked from nurseries when they are approximately three to six feet tall with a diameter of the trunk of approximately three-fourth of an inch. The best time for planting is early spring in a well drained and fertile land and spaced approximately twenty feet apart. Good yield can be expected if the trees are pruned, fertilized, mulched along with proper pest control practice.
Plums are graded as good quality only when they are firm, well shaped and have deep color depending on their cultivar. They should not be bruised, infected by disease or insects.
The best way to check ripeness of any variety is by pressing the thumb lightly to feel the pulp soften. Since plums come in various colors like red, yellow, green and blue, ripeness can not be determined by the deepness of the color. One should wait for the plums to soften if they are not ripe in order to enjoy their sweetness. The harvests are made seeing the color by experienced growers.
Plums can be stored between 2 to 4 weeks in controlled environment with temperature ranging from 31 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and 90 and 95 percent relative humidity. At home, the plums can be stored in refrigerators till they need to be consumed.
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Agricultural Issues Center; University of California: Japanese Plums