Plums are the stayers of the stone-fruit family, their many varieties coming into season successively from around midsummer until well into autumn, long after the rest of the family have departed until next year. They divide into those with soft, sweet, yellow or rosy flesh and those with firm, dark, sharp-sweet flesh, the best known of these being the dark crimson blood-plum varieties. Plums can be clingstone or freestone, defined by whether the flesh separates cleanly from the stone. Some dark varieties are good for cooking, especially jam, but too tough skinned or dry to be eaten raw, but in general both soft fleshed and firm fleshed plums can make good eating out of hand and both kinds are used in cooking. To Store: Perfectly ripe plums can be kept at room temperature for a day, but should be refrigerated and used within a few days as they deteriorate quickly. Slightly unripe plums should be stored at room temperature until fully ripe, which may take up to a week, then refrigerate and use within a few days.
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