Lemon plum on a white plate.
Interesting Info

Lemon Plum

8 comments

Growing up I ate a lot of plums. We had a few plum trees in my backyard and there were some neighborhood trees that we could pick plums off of as well when they were in season. Plums grow really well in California where I grew up. Recently I had the opportunity to try the lemon plum. It was my first time trying this particular variety of plums. And of course, I decided to share it with you all.

Time to learn all about the Lemon plum or Chameleon plum. In this article, I will mention where lemon plums come from and where they grow, what the health benefits are, how to eat them, and what they taste like. On to the information!

Where does the lemon plum come from and where does it grow?

Map with pointers.

The lemon plum with the scientific name Prunus salicina is a rare variety of plums belonging to the Rosaceae family. They were developed by a grower in Israel under the name of Lamoon plum. It is NOT a mix between a lemon and a plum, that would just be silly. It gets its name because of the color and shape, but mainly the unique lemon-like shape.

This particular variety of plum was then licensed to growers in Chile. Since then there have been a few growers in the United States growing them as well. Their season is fairly short and is available from late winter to early spring. Also, you can’t find them in most countries. They can be found in the United States and Canada where they are imported from Chile. Also, they can be found in the Middle East.

I found my lemon plums at my local Asian market called H-Mart.

Health Benefits of the Lemon Plum or Chameleon plum

Health benefits of the lemon plum

Lemon plums are highly nutritious and have the following healthy benefits:

  • Excellent source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C
  • Improve skin complexion
  • Boosts and supports the immune system
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Good source of fiber
  • Lower amounts of phosphate, potassium, and calcium

You can find more health benefits at specialty produce.

How do you eat the lemon plum? When is it ripe?

It is really easy to tell when the lemon plum is ripe. When picked it will be a bright yellow color and be fairly firm. And then it will ripen on the counter and turn from yellow to red and will have some give to it when pressed. This is why it is called the Chameleon plum because of its color-changing properties as it ripens.

Lemon plum cut in half.

To eat it, you can eat it like any other plum. Just rinse it and bite into it if you like. There is a pit in the center. The pit is small in comparison to the fruit. You can also slice it in half and into smaller pieces from there after removing the pit.

What does the lemon plum taste like? How else can you use it?

Ripe lemon plum cut in half on a white plate.

Lemon plums can be eaten when ripe and fresh. They are crispy, and fairly firm, with a bit of sweetness and a bit of sour and slightly acidic taste. They are much sweeter when ripe and very juicy.

It is hard to exactly describe the taste, it tastes like a different plum variety.

Besides being eaten fresh, they are tossed in salads, used in yogurt bowls, blended in smoothies, made into jelly, served with nuts and cheese, and also used in baking with tarts and cakes.

If you are a fan of plums I think you will really like this.

I hope you enjoyed learning all about this unique and rare plum, the Lemon plum.

Watch the video review I did here:

All About the Lemon Plum

Here are other fruits you may want to learn about:

Hami Melon

White Guava

Honey Pomelo

Egg Fruit or Canistel

Gaya Melon

8 Comments

  1. I stumbled on these at my local Sprouts where a helpful employee noticed my “ever to common this time of year” fruit-less basket as I passed the collection of apples apples apples hoping to find some Spring previews. Nothing. But a small interesting yellow grouping of plums. They were lemon plums and I have never seen them. He explained how they were not yet ripe and would transform into a red sweet plum that would be hard to explain but sure to be a worthwhile wait. He told me all about the fruit and how the packaging seemed like a large quantity which might seem to risky or wasteful for two people except that if I was to enjoy the fruit even more and given its timing of the year, arriving now would be like two ships calling out to eachother from far away. His words, my gratitude. I should follow the fruit and not feel restrain trying one at various days, having plenty to do so and tasting the various changes that might otherwise be totally overlooked. I was so happy I brought these home. The first day I chose one that had the tiniest hint of red coming in around the pointy end. But very much a yellow bunch. Firm and shiny. The taste was sour, I thought of lemon but a pleasant fruity taste was so subtle and enjoyable. I thought I could eat these as is. I love a lemon and tart cherries are my tops, but this was unique. Probably too tart for most but definitely pleasant for me.
    The next day I impatiently chose another but this was not nearly as far along as the previous and I was reminded of the clear directions on the package that these are best enjoyed as they turn red. It was way too under ripe and reminded me of picking stone fruit off the trees in Texas that would never get a chance to grow very well and usually just fell to the ground. The sour belly aches that would follow.
    So back in brown paper bag. Then a few ways later I opened and saw a little more progress and most now had some sort of red on rather or both ends and started turning a darker yellow orange. So ok I will try again. And this time I noticed a slight tiny softening of the skin but still firm and stiill more yellow than red but the bunch was decently going orange. Still tart but with ever so subtle sweetness.
    Next day (day 5) I ate two. This was the stage I was happy to acheive if that was all she wrote. I would say I am a fan. But I still had more than half the carton left. Each day after was a slight change that tasted lovely yet different enough to not resemble the previous day. The fruit became sweeter while retaining its tanginess and softened to where it backe so juicy it required my full attention and two hands. A dozen of them were just enough to span a two week period (half in the fridge and half in paper bag on the counter) with no waste nor a single spoiled . I have to go back today and see if there are any left. It’s like anytime I see a limited quantity and think I can try a small amount to see if I like them, by the time I get them home and get to try when it’s ready, they are gone gone gone. But if I get lucky to be in the time and place I would definitely recommend these. They are as good or better than any variety of plum and hopefully the season and growing constraints can be improved and possibly grown closer to home. I would keep my eye out for these if you find a quality robust selection that can manage the remaining toe to ripeness. I would guess if they are past the firm yellow stage then ensure the shade is relatively in sync with its condition necessary to make it to the red stage or is edible as is if it’s on the decline. These needed a week to get close and were pristine to start.
    Thanks for the pat and information. I hope these catch on

    • Awesome!! Glad you were able to experience them. Yes, I hope they catch on as well. They are so good and worth trying. And fun how they change colors and flavor as they ripen.

  2. I need this tree!! They sound delicious!! Thanks for sharing this!

  3. Andie Thueson

    I started taking lemon plum to help with some of the inflammation in my stomach. It worked wonders! It is also very delicious and my favorite healthy sweet treat!

  4. We had a plum tree in our yard when I was growing up as well, and I loved those fresh plums! I’ll have to look for lemon plums so I can try one. 🙂

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