What Does Lemon Plum Taste Like?

What Does Lemon Plum Taste Like

Have you ever seen a weird-looking yellow plum at the grocery store and wondered what the heck it was? Chances are, that quirky fruit was a lemon plum – a hybrid plum variety that’s equal parts zesty and sweet. With its signature lemon yellow skin and surprisingly tangy flesh, the lemon plum is one unique customer that definitely stands out from the crowd.

But what does lemon plum taste like? Is it pucker-up sour like a lemon, or more mellow and plummy? The flavor of lemon plums is sort of a delicious contradiction—both tart and sugary sweet at the same time. If you’re intrigued by the prospect of biting into a lemon-esque plum, stick around! I’m diving into all the flavor details, from the lemon plum’s unmistakable tang to its more subtle nuances. Fair warning though: by the end of this article, you’ll probably be craving a lemon plum (or five)!

What Does Lemon Plum Taste Like?

When you first bite into a lemon plum, your tastebuds are going to be hit with a serious wave of bright, puckery tartness. The lemon flavor is absolutely unmistakable – it’s like someone injected pure lemon zest right into the flesh of a plum. That initial tang is so vibrant and mouthwatering, it practically makes your cheeks tingle. 

But then, just when you think this fruit is going to be overwhelmingly sour, the sugary sweetness of the plum base comes through. It mellows out the lemon kick with layers of honey-like sweetness and those telltale plum sugar notes. The sweet-tart balance is really what makes lemon plums so unique and downright fun to eat.

As you continue chewing that first bite, even more flavors emerge. There are whispers of other citrus fruits like orange and grapefruit that seem to accentuate the lemon tang. Floral hints reminiscent of lychee and rosewater add complexity. And of course, you get those quintessential plum and stonefruit undertones tying it all together.

The texture of a lemon plum Is equally delightful. That initial bite has a lovely crispness to it, then transitions to That signature plum juiciness as you reach the center. The flesh is on the firmer side, not drippy or mushy. You get little pockets of gel-like plum juices that burst with flavor.

Lemon Plums vs Regular Plums

If you’re familiar with the taste of standard plum varieties like black or red plums, you might be wondering how lemon plums stack up in comparison. While there are certainly some similarities, lemon plums really put a wildly unique spin on “plum flavor” as we know it.

The most obvious difference is, of course, that wonderfully intense lemon-citrus tang that runs through every bite of a lemon plum. With regular plums, you get plenty of sweet fruity notes, but nothing even remotely close to that puckery, mouth-watering sourness. Plums like black rubies or red beauties have a deeper, richer sweetness that’s more akin to other stone fruits like cherries or nectarines.

Lemon plums, on the other hand, balance that trademark lemon zing with a lighter, more delicate sweetness. It’s bright and sugary, yet subtle enough to let the tart citrus notes really shine. The sweetness of lemon plums also has more of a honeyed, floral quality compared to regular plums.

Texturally, lemon plums are a bit firmer and crisper than their plum counterparts. They have a wonderful snap when you bite into them initially. Regular plums tend to be a little softer and almost velvety in texture when fully ripe. Lemon plums hold their shape better, giving you a bit more of a substantial chew.

Another key difference is how the flavors of each plum variety develop and change as you eat them. With a lemon plum, you get that immediate zippy lemon smack, followed by the plum sweetness emerging more slowly. But with regular plums, the sugary sweet notes hit you right away before other nuanced fruit flavors start to materialize. 

Speaking of nuances, lemon plums seem to have more going on in the complexity department too. Along with the obvious lemon and plum notes, you’ll likely detect hints of other tropical and citrus fruits, fragrant florals, and even a subtle herbaceous quality. Standard plums tend to be a bit more straightforward and one-note in their flavor profile.

Best uses and ways to enjoy lemon plums

With their perfectly balanced sweet-tart flavor and delightfully crisp texture, lemon plums are endlessly versatile little fruits. You can absolutely enjoy them as a fresh, out-of-hand snack to get that full blast of lemon-plum goodness. But their unique tanginess also lends itself exceptionally well to all sorts of cooking and baking applications.

One of the most classic ways to showcase lemon plums is in jams and preserves. That bright lemon kick gives the jams a zippy freshness that complements the plum’s inherent sweetness. You get all those glorious fruity flavors amplified and concentrated into a lusciously spreadable condiment. Slather it on English muffins, scones, or mix it into yogurt for a taste of sunshine.

Lemon plums are also naturals for baked goods like pies, tarts, and crumbles. Their firm flesh holds its shape beautifully during baking so you get gorgeous pockets of tangy, jammy plum filling. Swap them in for regular plums in any recipe for a vibrant lemon twist. Or try making a showstopping lemon plum galette with the fruits artfully arranged to highlight their gorgeous yellow hue.

The sweet-tart character of lemon plums makes them awesome in all sorts of other desserts too. Surprising lemon plum upside-down cake? Don’t mind if I do! How about lemon plum sorbet to channel summertime in a sweet, frosty bite? Lemon plum bars, cakes, trifles, crepes – the options are endless for playing up that lively lemon punch.

But don’t relegate lemon plums solely to sweets! Their zinginess can bring a bright pop of flavor to savory dishes too. Try tossing them in salads for a refreshing twist, or sautéing with chicken or pork for a fruity, lightly caramelized accent. The tanginess of lemon plums makes them perfect for salsas, sauces, and chutneys as well. Grill or roast them for an amazing topping on flatbreads or pizza.

Selecting and storing lemon plums

With their stellar sweet-tart flavor and stunning lemon yellow appearance, lemon plums are definitely a fruit you’ll want to pick perfectly ripe. An under-ripe lemon plum is a very sad thing – the flesh will be rock hard and the sourness overwhelming without sufficient sugar to balance it out. But an overly ripe specimen runs the risk of being mushy and bland. Getting that “just right” lemon plum is key to experiencing their zesty brilliance.

So how do you spot a perfectly ripe lemon plum? Give the fruit a gentle squeeze – it should have a slight givewhen pressed, but still have a bit of firmness. Avoid any rock-hard fruits as well as ones that feel really soft and dented. Color is also a good indicator – while the yellow hue will vary a bit, you want to see a nice deep lemon shade rather than a pale, washed out yellow or greenish tint.

Another trick is to take a whiff of the blossom end (opposite the stem). A perfectly ripe lemon plum should have a sweet, fragrant aroma with those telltale lemon-plum notes. If you don’t get much of a scent at all, it likely needs more time. But a fermented, boozy fragrance means it’s rotten and past its prime.

Once you get your lemon plum haul home, you’ll want to let them finish ripening at room temperature if they seem a bit under-ripe still. The cooler fridge temps can make them overly tart and crunchy. Just let them sit out on the counter, checking on them daily until they develop that nice gentle give that signals perfect ripeness.

At peak ripeness, lemon plums will keep at room temperature for about 5 days. Any longer and they’ll quickly go downhill into over-ripeness. To extend their life, you can pop them in the fridge where they’ll keep for up to 2 weeks. The cold essentially puts the brakes on ripening so they’ll stay nice and crisp, though their flavor may dull slightly.

For longer-term storage, lemon plums can absolutely be frozen, dried, or canned to lock in their tangy-sweet goodness. Frozen, they’ll keep for up to a year – perfect for getting your lemon plum fix in the dead of winter! Dried lemon plums make for insanely good snacking with their delightfully chewy, sugary-tart texture. And canning them as jams, compotes, or in light syrups preserves all those tasty lemon-plum flavors.


How do lemon plums compare nutrition-wise to regular plums?

Lemon plums have a very similar nutritional profile to standard plum varieties. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, providing about 20% of the daily recommended value in just one fruit. Lemon plums are also a good source of vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium and fiber. The main difference is their higher citric acid content which gives them that lovely tartness.

Are lemon plums genetically modified or a hybrid fruit?

No, lemon plums are not a genetically engineered fruit. They are a natural hybrid that occurred spontaneously from a cross between a standard plum variety and a lemon-tinged plum variety. The unique lemon tang comes from the natural combination of the parent plum’s genetics.

Do lemon plums have a different growing season than regular plums?

The growing season for lemon plums is fairly similar to standard plums, usually from late spring through late summer depending on the climate. However, some lemon plum varieties like the Honey Drop can have an earlier or later harvest window.

Are lemon plums easily available or harder to find than regular plums?

Lemon plums are increasing in availability at many grocery stores and farmer’s markets, but they can still be harder to find than common red or black plum varieties. Your best bet is to check stores during peak plum season and inquire about when lemon plums are expected to arrive.

What is the best way to ripen underripe lemon plums?

To help underripe lemon plums finish ripening, simply leave them at room temperature out of direct sunlight. Check on them daily, giving them a gentle squeeze. Once they yield slightly to pressure, they are ready to enjoy. Putting them in a paper bag can also help trap ethylene gas to speed up ripening.

Do lemon plums have any special pruning or care requirements?

For those wanting to grow lemon plums at home, the care requirements are essentially the same as regular plum trees. They need full sun, well-draining soil, and annual pruning. However, lemon plums may be more prone to certain fungal diseases than other plum varieties.

How sweet are lemon plums compared to regular plums?

Lemon plums tend to be less intensely sweet than standard plum varieties. The tartness from the lemon notes balances out the sweetness quite a bit. Most describe the overall flavor as a nice mix of sweet and tangy rather than overtly sugary.

Do all lemon plums have the same lemon flavor intensity?

No, there can be some variation in how pronounced the lemon flavor is depending on the specific lemon plum variety. Some like the Honey Drop have a more subdued lemon note, while others like the Lemon Candy really pack a puckery lemon punch.

Are lemon plums more or less acidic/tart than regular lemons?

While lemon plums definitely have a bright tartness, they are not quite as pungent and acidic as true lemons. The sourness in lemon plums comes more from citric acid rather than the intense citric and malic acids found in lemons.

Do the texture and skin of lemon plums affect the taste at all?

Absolutely. Lemon plums have a satisfyingly crisp, dense flesh compared to softer plum varieties. This firmer texture really allows the tartness to come through nicely with each bite. The skin also contributes some mild bitterness akin to lemon zest.

Do lemon plums have any aftertaste?

Many describe a slightly floral, perfumey aftertaste that lingers briefly after eating a lemon plum. This comes from some of the aromatic compound similarities lemon plums share with other stone fruits.

How does cooking impact the flavor of lemon plums?

When cooked or baked, lemon plums tend to mellow out a bit in tartness while the sweetness becomes more pronounced and jammy. However, that signature bright lemon note still shines through nicely in things like pies, jams, and compotes.


There’s no fruit that packs as much sweet-tart pizazz into one bite as the mighty lemon plum. With its jaw-droppingly bright lemon zing balanced by delicate plum sweetness, this yellow-hued stonefruit is truly in a flavor category all its own.

From their crisp, juicy texture to their endlessly versatile nature in cooking and baking, lemon plums make for an invigorating change of pace from the standard plum varieties. Whether you want to experience their punch of tartness in a vibrant jam, buttery crumble, or even savory applications, there’s no denying these zesty fruits are a welcome jolt to the taste buds.

While their unique flavor may be an acquired taste for some, lemon plums are absolutely worth braving that initial mouth-puckering intro. Once you experience their perfectly calibrated sweet-sourness and incredible versatility, you’ll be completely smitten. Tart, yet sophisticated. Zesty, yet well-balanced. Lemon plums are living proof that opposites really do attract in the most deliciously harmonious way.

So puckered-up plum lovers, what are you waiting for? Seek out these citrusy wonders at your nearest market and embrace the tang. With lemon plums in your life, bland and boring have no place at the table. One bright, sweet-tart bite of these gems will have your taste buds fist-pumping for joy!

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