Satsuma Dried Plum/Prune
The classic French prune is a dried Ente Plum. In the United States the Ente is called the d’Agen Plum in honor of the area in France from which it was exported. Sadly my Ente Plum tree succumbed to some manner of blight and I needed a ‘Plan B’ for making prunes. Here are Satsuma dried plums.
Satsuma was developed by Luther Burbank in the early 1900s at his farm in Santa Rosa. Burbank’s multi-volume journal describes an astounding body of work over two decades that resulted in more than a hundred new plum varieties. He employed plum breeding stock from Europe, China, Japan and America to create large, sweet plums with yielding flesh that were meant for fresh consumption. Burbank developed a technique of hand selecting seedlings he felt were promising. During his plum career he examined over three million seedlings.
Some orchardists have described “Satsuma” as Burbank’s most exotic plum variety. It is a deeply colored red plum with flesh that is nearly as dark as the skin. It is sweet but it also has a rich, wine-like flavor. Typically Satsuma is a productive tree although its fruit tend to be small unless thinned.
My tree is now five years old and it is beginning to produce a modest crop. I’ve dried the plums in a casual but natural way without pretreatments. They have come through with their rich, sappy flavor intact. They were, however, a pesky chore to stone.
On her last visit to California my mother picked out a Satsuma dried plum from a tasting in Sebastopol saying that it was “much better than any prune.” Mothers know.