The Greengage is a cultivar of plum with a delightful taste and beautiful confectionary flavor. These fruits were first developed in the Moissac commune in France from Ganerik which is a wild plum species with green fruits native to Asia Minor. Sir William Gage was the first person to introduce these plums into Britain in 1724.
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Greengage Scientific Name
The scientific name for Greengage tree is Prunus domestica italica.
Description of Greengage Plum
They are edible drupaceous fruits with the outer fleshy part surrounding the seed and its hard shell. The fleshy part has a smooth texture.
Color: Their color may vary from green to greenish yellow.
Shape: These small fruits are oval in shape.
Taste: The sweet, velvety taste of the greenish yellow flesh of these fruits can be compared with that of honey.
These medium sized deciduous trees can grow anywhere between 12 feet and 15 feet. However, one may easily keep them within a height of 6-9 feet by pruning. These trees are capable of self fertilization, bearing fruit every year. They have deep green smooth leaves and small yellowish white flowers.
Varieties of Greengage
There are some varieties of these fruits including:
- Golden Transparent
- Cambridge Gage
- Laxton’s Supreme
- Laxton’s Gage
They are commercially grown in France; however they are also found in other European countries like Portugal, Spain and Britain. Some North American countries and the Benelux countries also grow these plums.
Cultivation of Greengage Plum Trees
One may cultivate these deciduous trees in gardens in order to obtain the delicious fruits. It is quite easy to grow these self fertile trees as they require low maintenance. These trees need pruning between April and September to avoid infections and diseases.
Soil: These trees grow well in well drained rich and moist soil.
Sunlight: They need plenty of sunlight in order to grow properly.
Water: Regular watering is necessary for their growth; however care should be taken to keep the soil well-drained.
Climate: Temperate climates are ideal for these trees.
It is ideal to harvest these fruits after they are properly ripe; however, they should be harvested a little early if they are to be preserved. Harvesting is done in the months of September and October. The oval fruits can be handpicked or plucked using a harvester.
Greengage Fruit Nutritional Facts
Here is the nutritional information for 100 gm of this fruit:
|Dietary fiber||1.4 g|
|Vitamin A||345 IU|
|Vitamin C||9.5 mg|
Health Benefits of Greengage Fruit
There are some health benefits of these fruits.
- These plums are rich in various organic acids, flavonoids, phenolic acids and antioxidant compounds enabling them to improve body metabolism.
- They can alleviate fatigue.
- It has detoxifying properties.
Uses of Greengage
These wonderful plums are used for various purposes.
- Ripe Greengages are consumed as fruits.
- These fruits are used to prepare a delicious jam.
- They are widely used in various preparations of pies, sorbets and tarts.
- The jam made from these plums is eaten with vanilla-ice creams and custards.
- Greengages are also used for making wine.
These plums are perfectly sweet with a taste that resembles honey. With this wonderful taste and flavor, delightful jam can be made from ripe Greengages following a simple recipe. It is quite easy to make this amazing jam using these fruits along with water and sugar. The stones needs to be removed from the fruits before cooking them to make jam; however one can also remove the seeds as they float out of the boiling fruit-water-sugar mixture on their own.
Using Greengage during Pregnancy
There are no known adverse effects of eating these fruits during pregnancy; however, it is advisable to consult a physician before consuming them when pregnant.
Numerous delicious desserts and drinks can be prepared using these fruits.
This is one of the most wonderful recipes for nougatine using sugar, various nuts and these plums. The preparation is quite similar to other nougatine recipes, but these plums add a unique flavor to this dessert.
These fruits have the perfect taste, flavor and sweetness for making delicious tart. They can be used to make variety of tarts including almond tart and vanilla tart.
This is a preparation using milk, sugar, butter, cream and flour with these fruits. It is one of the best shortcake recipes in existence.
Greengage Suet Pudding
These fruits are used for this classic pudding recipe along with flour, sugar and suet. This dish is not very difficult to prepare following some simple instructions and everyone is sure to enjoy it.
Greengage Coconut Sponge
This is one of the most popular dishes using this fruit. The required ingredients apart from these fruits include honey, milk, butter, sugar and flour.
These delicious plums are also used to make numerous sorbets, cakes and chutneys.
Slightly unripe Greengage fruits can be kept at room temperature to ripen. Ripe fruits can be stored for a few days when kept under refrigeration. The best way to store is by making jam from these plums and preserve it in a tightly sealed container.
Greengage Fruit Side Effects
Like plums, there are no known serious side effects of this fruit. However, it is important to peel them properly before eating as the fruit skin can cause some adverse reactions.
Greengage Interesting Facts
Here are some interesting facts about these fruits:
- They are counted among the finest dessert plums in the world.
- King Francois I of France was very fond of these plums and named them “Reine Claude” after his wife.
- All drupaceous fruits from Prunus genus are called gages after the “Gage” family who introduced them in most English speaking countries. The Greengages earned their name from the fact that they retain their greenish color even when they are completely ripe.
These fruits are not very commonly available in the USA. They are imported from the European countries where these plums are commercially grown. One may look for them in large fruit stores who might stock these plums. The Greengage jam is easily available online or in stores at reasonable prices.
Here are some images of these wonderful fruits.
Greengages are very popular all over the world with their wonderful flavor, smooth texture and sweet taste. The fact that they are beneficial for human health is another reason behind its popularity.
- by Deepamala Bhattacharya
- November 12th 2011