How to grow it:
Summer holidays are synonymous with plum season.
Most plum varieties stem from two species, Prunus domestica and P salicina.
These are hardy and tolerate a range of soils.
The latter, also known as the European plum, is smaller with green-yellow skin, and better suited to the south of the country, as it requires longer cold temperatures for fruit set.
A European plum revered for its flavour is the greengage. Japanese plums (P. salicina) are the most productive in warmer regions.
They are usually red-skinned with red or yellow flesh.
A lovely home garden variety, which my grandmother has, is Sultan.
This is a small tree with large, dark red-fleshed, juicy fruit.
It is a good all-rounder.
For an excellent plum selection including heirlooms see: ediblegarden.co.nz
In the kitchen:
The small, blue-black, pale-fleshed Damson is beautiful, but super sour; ideal for jam, preserves.
Bake firm-fleshed plums halved and with other stone fruit.
Serve drizzled with honey and a dollop of creme fraiche.