Do Plums Go Bad? Keeping Them Fresh Longer

Plums are delicious fruit that most people enjoy eating during the summer. It has that sour and sweet taste to it that makes them versatile. Plums can be eaten fresh, made into smoothie drinks, or used in fruit salads. Due to their limited availability, most will buy a lot of plums to keep at home. Like most other fruits, plums will continue to ripen regardless of where it’s stored.

So do plums go bad? Plums do start to go bad over time once it’s picked from the tree. With plums, they will continue to ripen until it’s no longer good to eat. There’s no way to prevent them from spoiling as that’s a natural process. However, you can slow the process of that happening by handling and storing them properly.

How Long Do Plums Last?

Unripe plums will take about 2-3 days to ripen. Once it’s riped, at room temperature, plums will last for 1-3 days. This will depend on the room temperature. If it’s cool, it may last up to 3 days. If it’s hot, it will last about a day.

In the fridge, plums that are riped will last for up to a week. They can last longer if it’s properly stored in a plastic bag or an airtight container.

Never store unripe plums in the fridge. If you do, you’ll end up with a plum that tastes bitter. The unripe plums will continue to ripen, but the flavor will not. Even though the fruit seems riped due to their softness and color change, the taste will be bitter as when it was unripe.

Storing the plums in the freezer will keep them fresh for up to 6 months. They’ll last longer than that, but the taste and texture will deteriorate.

How To Tell When Plums Go Bad

Like any other fruit, plums go bad over time. However, with this fruit, in particular, they tend to spoil slowly. This will give you time to save them become they spoil to the point that it has to be thrown away.

Below are some of the signs to look for when plums are bad:

Appearance – When plums go bad, their skin will start to shrivel. This does not mean that the fruit has to be thrown away. The taste of it will not be like fresh plum though. You should throw away the plums if you see mold on them, especially near the stem area.

Firmness – Perfectly riped plums will be soft. However, if the plums are super soft or juice is oozing out when you squeeze it, you should discard it.

Pest – Due to their sweet and soft flesh, plums will attract worms, insects, and other pests. Before eating the plum, cut them in half to see if there are any pests in there. If there are, it’s best to throw them away. More than likely, if you see a worm in the fruit, there will be many more in there as well.


fresh plums

How To Tell When Plums Are Riped

Before you can store plums in the fridge or the freezer, they need to be riped first. Plums will start to ripe after it’s harvested and will continue to ripe until it spoils.

If the plums are unripe, it’s not a good idea to store them in the fridge. Storing unripe plums in the fridge will cause them to become bitter. The cold temperature of the fridge will slow down the ripening process, but it will not stop it.

Therefore, the plum will continue to ripe, but the flavor will not. You’ll end up with a riped plum that will taste bitter.

There are two things to look for when plums are riped and ready to be stored. These two things are:

Color – Depending on the variety of the plums, it will change their color as they ripen. For blue plums, they will be green to greenish-blue when they are unripe. When they ripen, the fruit will become dark blue.

For purple plums, they will be green to greenish-blue when unripe, but instead of blue, they will become purple when they are riped.

Firmness – Like the avocado fruit, unripe plums will be hard. As they start to ripen, they will become soft, especially the end of the fruit.

How To Store Plums

At room temperature, you can store unripe plums on the countertop or somewhere in the kitchen. Make sure to not leave them in direct sunlight or close to any other heat source.

If you want to speed up the ripening process of the plums, you can either put them with other fruits or simply put them in a brown bag by themselves.

Other fruits such as apples and bananas produce a chemical known as ethylene. This chemical will speed up the ripening process. If plums are placed with these fruits, the plums will quickly ripen. Place them in a paper brown bag or in a basket and set them on the countertop.

The other option would be simply to put all the unripe plums in a paper brown bag. Close the bag so that no air can escape. The plums will start to release ethylene and the chemicals will cause the plums to ripen faster.

Once the plums are riped, it’s recommended to store them in the refrigerator to help slow down the ripening of the fruit.

However, if you want to store riped plums at room temperature, make sure to eat it within a couple of days. Otherwise, the plums will start to go bad quickly.

In the fridge, riped plums should be stored in a sealable plastic bag or an airtight container. You can either store them whole or slice them into smaller pieces.

You can either store them on the fridge’s shelf or in the crisper drawer. Either place is fine for storing plums. Most importantly, keep the plastic bag or container sealed and away from any smelly food products.

Can You Freeze Plums?

Plums are great are freezing and they actually freeze very well too. When freezing plums, make sure they are riped first before storing them in the freezer. If not, you’ll get the bitter taste when it defrosts.

In order to keep plums fresh for a long time in the freezer, you’ll need to prep them first. Simply just putting them in the freezer together will become a big mess when you thaw them.

Instead, use the flash freezing method before storing the plums in the freezer.

After the plums are riped, start by washing them to remove any dirt and pests that may be on the fruit. With a sharp knife, cut the fruit in half. You can either halve them or cut them into smaller pieces.

On a clean sheet of wax paper, spread the plums on the sheet spacing them out so they don’t touch each other. Place them in the freezer for about 5-6 hours. Once it’s completely frozen, immediately transfer the plums to a freezer bag or an airtight container. Place the plums back in the freezer.

The plums will stay fresh for up to 6 months in the freezer. However, you’ll still be able to eat them after that, but the quality of the fruit will decrease.

How To Keep Plums Fresh Longer

Buying Plums

When buying plums, you’ll want to buy the one that’s the freshest. However, it can be hard to tell how fresh they are since plums don’t have an expiration date on them. The only way is to tell if they are fresh is by looking for signs of freshness.

When buying plums, you’ll want to buy ones that are unripened. This will give you time to keep them fresh longer at home. However, if you’re planning to eat them right away or in a couple of days, picking riped one is fine. Just make sure it’s not overly ripped.

The next thing to look for is blemishes and other signs of damage to the plums. There should be no cut or bruising on the outer skin of the fruit. A minor cut will cause the fruit to go bad before it ripened completely.

Besides the grocery stores, the farmer’s market is another excellent place to buy plums. At the farmer’s market, plums are usually fresh. Most sellers will pick the fruit the day before or on the day that it’s being sold.

When buying the plums, like at the grocery stores, you’ll want to examine the quality of it as well. Look for blemishes and other signs of damages on the skin of the fruit.

By choosing plums that are fresh and have no damages to them, this will ensure the fruit will stay fresh for a long time.

Handling Plums

Due to their soft outer skin, plums can get damaged easily. This is especially true for riped plums. Light pressure on the plum could break the skin open. When it does, you’ll either need to eat them right away or they will start to go bad quickly.

When storing plums, never keep more than ten plums or more together in the same basket or container. As they continue to ripen, the ones on the bottom will start to get damaged by the pressure of the others on top.

Related Questions

What can I do with really ripe plums?

If you find yourself with plums that are really riped, it won’t taste very good due to their mushy texture. However, instead of throwing them away, you can make jam, sauce, cake, and desserts with riped plums.

Why are plums bitter?

Plums are bitter when they are unripe. As they start to ripen, the flavor will develop into a sweet and sour taste. Some people like a little bitter taste in their plums. If that’s the case, after a day, place them in the refrigerator to stop the flavor from developing any further.