Plums are fleshy stone fruits of the family Rosaceae. The large-fruited European type, P. domestica, is the most important type. It originated in the Caucacus Mountains, probably from a doubling of the chromosomes of a cross between P. cerasifera and P. spinosa. The small-fruited European type, P. insititia, includes the purple damsons and the yellow mirabelles. The Japanese plum, P. salicina, is next in importance. The Simon plum, P. simonii, was introduced from China. A number of plums are native to America, including P. americana, P. americana nigra (from Canada), P. munsoniana (the wild goose plum), andP hor-tulana. P. angustifolia, the Chicasaw or sand plum, is native to the southern United States. P. marĂ­tima, the beach plum, is abundant in the Cape Cod area. P. subcordata grows wild in the western United States. Plums have been extensively hybridized; more than 2000 varieties exist, but only a few are commercially important. The large European plums are largely consumed fresh, but many of the other types are canned, frozen, dried, or processed into jams, jellies, preserves, nectars, and so forth. Yugoslavia is the largest producer, with 90% of its crop processed into slivovitz brandy. Germany is second and the United States third, with about 300 tons. California produces 90% of the U.S. crop.

The Mediterranean Diet Meltdown

The Mediterranean Diet Meltdown

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