Do Plums Go Bad?

Do plums go bad or not? How do you tell if plums have gone bad and how should you store plums for optimal longevity? Here's a short guide.

Maybe those luscious plums are in season, and there’s been an irresistible offer at the grocery store.

Now you’ve bought dozens of plums but don’t know how to store them safely and make them last longer. Your biggest question:

Do plums go bad?

If so, let’s explore the signs of spoilage, the best ways to store your plums, and how long you can hope to enjoy your plums.

Make Sure Your Plums Are Ripe

plums on plate

Before you continue: Let’s check if your plums are ripe. You have to focus on two things: color and firmness.

As your plums ripen, their color changes. Blue plums become green or greenish-blue. After that, they turn dark blue. Similarly, purple plums also go through color changes and become purple.

When plums are unripe, they are firm like avocados. They become soft over time, especially near their tip. They also acquire their lush smell at this point.

So if you’ve got delicious, ripe plums, they should have their characteristic color, be slightly tender, and smell that distinctive plum smell!

So why’s this important?

Because you should choose your plums at the grocery store, according to when you want to eat them. Get unripe ones if you need your plums in 3-4 days. Otherwise, go for a nice juicy ripe plum!

How To Know If Plums Have Gone Off

plum juice

The bad news is that just like other fruits, your plums are perishable and do not retain their quality for long.

If you’re worried that your plums may be spoiled, check for signs like:

  • Mold growth. You may notice this, especially near the stems of your plums.
  • Shriveled skin. It shows that your plums are old and may not taste as good as juicy fresh plums. You don’t need to throw shriveled plums away, provided they don’t have any of the other signs of spoilage. Use them in a recipe, and you won’t notice at all!
  • Extremely soft. Check if your fruits are firm. If they are very tender or juice is oozing out of them, you can discard them.
  • Presence of tiny creatures. If you’re worried about your plums, cut them into halves and take the pits out before eating. This way, you can ensure no unexpected creepy crawlies!

How To Store Plums

plum jam

You have to store your unripe and ripe plums differently.

Leave your unripe plums on a countertop or your pantry to ripen. Make sure they do not come in contact with direct sunlight. Check them once or twice every day to check if they are ripe.

It’s important to check your plums regularly – plums ripen quickly.

Do you want your plums to mature fast? Just place them in paper bags.

Here’s the reason: Plums produce ethylene. Paper bags trap it and help the fruits to ripen faster.

Transfer your ripe plums to your fridge. Put the plums in plastic bags and pop them in the crisper drawer. Remember that they should be away from smelly foods.

Otherwise, your plums will absorb other odors from your refrigerator.

Wash your plums thoroughly before you eat them.

How Long Plums Last

marble cake with plums and almonds

Usually, plums ripen within 1-2 days. But if your plums are quite firm after two days, you can give them some more time to become ripe.

If you like, you can even hasten the process of ripening your plums (scroll up if you missed that tip).

Ripe plums continue to be in their best form for nearly 3-5 days in your refrigerator. Sometimes they may be good enough for up to 1 week.

Don’t leave your ripe plums outside the fridge. They will deteriorate faster and become tender within a few days.

To round up, here are the approximate shelf life of your plums:

  • Unripe plums last for 2-3 days in the pantry.
  • Ripe plums retain their quality for 2-3 days if you keep them in your pantry.
  • Ripe plums remain fresh for 3-5 days in your refrigerator.

The Bottom Line On Plums

First of all, you should identify whether your plums are unripe or ripe. Then store them accordingly.

Your pantry or countertop is the best bet for unripe plums. After they ripen, you can shift them to your fridge to keep them in their best form for 3-5 days.

If you notice that your plums have developed some signs of spoilage, such as the growth of mold near the stems, you can discard them.

If their skin is shriveled, it is your choice whether to eat or discard them. They may not taste great, but it is safe to eat them.

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Alisa Shimoyama

Alisa eats her way around the world on her travels and likes to have good food ready and waiting for her when she gets back.