How to Pick and Store Plums

Black Doris Plum harvestThere’s a small window, a perfect moment when fruit is ripe for picking. The only way you catch it is by keeping an eye on your crops. With a plum harvest, I reckon it’s just before it hits the ground. Pick your plums when the skin has that gorgeous dusky bloom on it and when the slightest touch knocks them from the branch. I cup the plums in my hand and wiggle my fingers, if they come away easily they are perfect – no tugging required. Dare I say it, its more like fondling than picking.

Plums are at their best at room temperature, so I leave them out for a day or so after picking to enjoy them in their prime. In a perfect world I get any preserving done in this window while flavour is optimum – bottle, dry, sauce, freeze, chutney, paste or jam to my hearts content – plums suit all these methods.

Any remaining after a couple of days need to get into the fridge. Put them into the crisper in a plastic bag where they’ll keep really well for a week, maybe more. No fruit or vegetable is same after refrigeration, but it’s either that or have the whole lot go squishy on you.


Tamaki plums harvest


  1. Maria Penny says

    Hi Kath, I only had a handful of plums to harvest and used one of the netting(Chiffon?) bags to protect from birds before harvest. They dropped into the bag and I had plums unbruised all waiting for me! Could be an idea to do this on a few branches to indicate when they are coming ripe?

  2. leAnne Glennie says

    Hi Kath. I’m grateful for your tip on how to net fruit trees. While preparing plums for cooking that came off my tree while Hubby & I where netting it I noticed some of the plums have a brown cavity at the bottom of the stone & sometimes at the top also. There are also a few small clear gelatinous droplets in some of the cavities at the base of the stone. The fruit (variety- Hawera) is large, sound and nearly ripe. I’m wondering: What kind of ‘foe’ am I dealing with here? I’m also wondering if I should pick & process the fruit before it completely ripens as I’m concerned that whatever the gel is it will destroy the fruit from the inside out.
    Grateful thanks, leAnne

    • Hey LeAnne – I’m not sure what the gelatinous drops are. The cavity – is it a small hole like an insect would make? Or larger and squishy? It sounds more like an insect entering to me than a disease. I wonder if its guava moth? Did you find any little worms?

      • Hi Kath.
        No, the cavity isn’t caused by an insect. The fruit is externally intact. There are no little worms.
        I have a photo. Where can I upload it?

        • not sure leAnne, but if its not insect its disease. The process of elimination. So rather than sending me a photo – identifying disease is about paying close attention to your tree through spring as blossom and foliage develop which is where the disease will show up first.
          The short term solution is to clearly identify the disease – it’ll either be bacterial or fungal. Disregard bloggers and companies selling products – jump right to university websites. A copper spray at leaf fall is a smart idea.
          Regardless of the disease, the long term solution is here. Tick away with it.
          Sometimes the solution is a new tree. Go for a different variety.
          all the best