At the farmers' market last week, we overheard someone complain rather sharply that a vendor was selling "unripe plums." By the time we turned around he was gone, doomed to miss out on the true delicacy of sour plums. While it is true that these cherry-sized fruits are unripe, in the case of green plums that's not necessarily a bad thing. Young, sour plums have traditionally been enjoyed in the Middle East and Asia, where they may be eaten raw or preserved. They're known as goje sabz
in Iran, jarareng
in Lebanon, erik
in Turkey, mei
in China, and ume
in Japan. Although these are not all the same variety of plum, they may be used in similar ways.
We particularly enjoy eating the tart, crunchy plums as a snack, sometimes dipped in a little salt. This week we tried an easy, spicy pickle recipe from Felicia Friesema at LA Weekly, and we also plan to make umeshu, a Japanese plum liqueur that appeared on the Kitchn a couple years ago.
Have you had sour green plums? How do you like to eat them?
Related: In Season Right Now: Japanese Ume Plums
(Images: Emily Ho)