Named for its birthplace, this plum variety was bred in 1906 by the famed California horticulturist Luther Burbank in his Santa Rosa plant research center. Responsible for over 800 varieties of fruits and vegetables, most notably the russet potato, the Santa Rosa plum is considered the jewel in Burbank’s crown.
So what makes Santa Rosa plums so special? We've narrowed it down to three distinct qualities:
1. Deep, rich flavor: The sweet, tender and juicy flesh of a Santa Rosa plum is complemented by a hint of tartness in the skin, which serves to balance out the sugars for a perfect blend of flavor.
2. Beautiful, dark color: Red-skinned with a purple bloom, the juicy amber flesh of these Santa Rosa plums is flushed with a bright red hue at the edges. You may see scars on the fruit every so often, but these are strictly cosmetic and do not affect the fruit’s flavor at all. (Note: Thrips are insects that scratch the skin of a plum when it's young, resulting in the beige scar you see.)
3. Compact size: Bigger than bite-sized varieties, the Santa Rosa plums are sized just right to please without being overwhelming.
Over time, the good ol’ Santa Rosa plum may have fallen out of favor in the fruit-growing industry — having been replaced by plums that are bigger and ship better — but it still remains the benchmark among all ‘fruities’ for plum flavor. No other variety can compete with the plump perfection of a Santa Rosa and at Frog Hollow Farm we recognize and respect its supremacy and continue to grow organic Santa Rosa plums on our farm so that you may enjoy this delicious treat every summer.
If we're out of our Santa Rosa plums, give our Flavor King pluots (a pluot is a hybrid between a plum and an apricot) a shot. They have an intense rich flavor, like the plum, combined with sweet, spicy tones.
Chef Becky’s Expert Tips on Santa Rosa plums:
Frog Hollow Farms' Rebecca Courchesne (Chef Becky!), co-author of CookingLight Magazine's "The Art of Preserving," shares her expert advice on how to handle, consume and cook with plums.
•Santa Rosa plums get very soft when they are ripe, so they require a lot of care while handling.
•They may be refrigerated, but only once completely ripe.
•When cooking with plums, don’t be surprised if you need more sugar than you originally planned on using because it would take a lot to balance out the tartness in the skin.
•On the other hand, the tart skin, coupled with the fact that they are high in pectin, makes Santa Rosa plums great for jams.