Is Purple Leaf Plum Tree Fruit Edible?

Do you have purple leaf plum trees in your ornamental garden? These trees bear fruits that are slightly larger than cherries. If you are wondering if the fruit is edible, you are in the right place. We did the research to provide you with the best answer.

The fruit of the purple leaf plum is edible. It is absolutely safe for human consumption. 

Now that you have learned that this fruit can be eaten, you will find out that it has a lot to offer. In this article, you will learn how to enjoy this fruit the way you do other plums. Keep on reading and find out how to get the best out of this fruit!

Purple Leaf Plum Tree Fruit 101

This fruit is also known as the cherry plum and Myrobalan plum. Like other plums, it belongs to the rose family.

It is one of the smallest varieties of plums because it does not grow more than two inches in diameter. The purple leaf plum tree usually bears flowers in the spring, and it takes a month for them to develop into ripe fruits. The earliest you can pick or get this fruit is around August or early September.

Fresh plum.

The color varies with each variety, but the fruit of the purple leaf plum is usually reddish or purple. If the color is still lighter, it means that the fruit is not yet suitable for picking.

It has an oval shape, but some fruits can be slightly rounder. The fruit's thick skin covers yellowish to amber flesh with a pit-covered single seed.

What does the fruit taste like?

The flesh of this fruit is sweet and juicy with a bit of tartness. It is very sour when harvested young, with an almost lemon-like taste. But if the fruit is left to ripen on the tree, the flesh gets sweeter over time. The fruits from ornamental plants, such as the purple leaf plum, have poor eating quality.

How do you eat purple plums?

You can simply wash the fruits and eat them fresh. But since other types of plums can be used in baking, you can use the fruits to make muffins, cakes, pies, jams, jellies, and much more. You may also want to add it to your favorite cocktails. You can be creative about how you incorporate this fruit into your diet.

What can you do with purple leaf plums?

There are various ways to preserve this fruit for later consumption.

fresh plums on wooden table


Canning is one of the best ways to preserve this fruit, so you can use the plums all year round and not just in summer. Follow these simple steps to preserve the fruit:

1. Make sure the containers are clean

Before canning, simply wash pint or quart jars, lids, and rims with dish soap and warm water.

2. Prepare a water bath can

Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. When the water boils, bring it down to a simmer and place the glass jars in the water. Don't worry because hot jars are less likely to break during the process.

3. Prepare the syrup

Make the sugar syrup by combining two cups of sugar and five cups of water. You can add a bit of spice, like star anise, or a splash of whiskey to add a bit of flavor. Over medium heat, add all the ingredients to the saucepan and stir until the sugar completely dissolves. 

4. Rinse and pit the fruits

Rinse the fruits in cold water and pat them dry with a paper towel. If preserving the whole fruit, nick a part of the fruit to allow for expansion, or you can also cut them in half and remove the pits.

5. Pack the plums into the jars

Once the jars are removed from the water, put the plums into the jars, but be careful not to press them down. Begin filling the jars with hot syrup, but leave at least half an inch of headspace at the top. Try to remove any air bubbles on the sides using a fork.

6. Begin treatment

Close the filled jars and place them in the water bath container. Remember that there must be enough water to cover the jars with a two-inch headspace when submerged. Boil the pint-sized jars for 20 minutes and the quart-sized ones for 25 minutes. 

7. Let the jars cool

When the boiling time is over, you can remove the jars and leave them to dry and cool on a towel for 12 hours. Once cooled, keep the jars closed for another hour because they still need to be neutralized, and then store them in a cool, dry place.


Drying is also a great option if you want to consume this fruit differently and make it last up to six months on your shelf. Here are the steps on how to dry this fruit:

  1. Wash the fruits with tap water and remove the pits and stems.
  2. You can cut them in half or dry them whole in a food dehydrator or the oven at 356 °F, ideally for eight to nine hours. The process may take longer but should not exceed 12 hours.
  3. The fruits should be stringy to the touch. If they are not, it means that they are not dry enough.
  4. Conditioning is important to prevent mold growth by placing dried fruits in a plastic or glass container with enough space, about two-thirds full.
  5. Store them in an airtight container.


Another way to preserve this fruit is through freezing. Like drying, this method preserves the freshness and flavor of the fruit for later consumption throughout the year.

Since the fruits are small, there is no need to cut them into wedges as most people do with larger varieties. Here are some simple steps to freeze the fruits:

  1. Wash the fruit with clean water and let it dry on a clean towel
  2. You can freeze the whole fruit or cut it in half and remove the pits
  3. Place the fruit in a Ziplock bag. Remove excess air, but do not squeeze. Remember to leave some space at the top.
  4. You can keep it in the freezer for up to six months.

Benefits Of Eating Plum Fruits

Garden plums in a wooden bowl on textured table.

Consuming plums can provide you with the following nutritional and health benefits:

  • Vitamins and minerals: Plums are a good source of vitamins A, C, and K and minerals such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium. 
  • Phytochemicals: These nutrients lower the instances of inflammation that can trigger heart problems.
  • Antioxidants: These are compounds that can protect your cells from tissue damage that could lead to brain problems.
  • Fiber: This nutrient helps ease bowel movements and lowers blood sugar levels. It also has sorbitol which acts as a mild laxative.
  • Low in calories and glycemic index: Eating this fruit may not promote weight gain and may help control blood sugar levels.

Are some plums poisonous?

plum in a wicker basket on the wooden table with sackcloth and blurred green background

The flesh is not poisonous, but plums have pits that contain cyanide compounds that can cause poisoning. So, there's no need to worry if you've just swallowed a few cores, although it should be discouraged. Seeds and pits should never be included in blending. 

Are all types of plums edible?

Prunus cerasifera 'Nigra' (black plum or prune 'Pissardii Nigra') with purple leaves against blue sky, Is Purple Leaf Plum Tree Fruit Edible?

All plum varieties are edible. Each variety, however, has its own unique flavor and taste. For instance, Mirabelle, Santa Rosa, and Greengage plums are among the sweetest plums on the market. The Damson plum, on the other hand, is too sour to be eaten fresh but still finds its way into jams and jellies.

Where can you get purple leaf plums?

Since the tree is used for ornamental purposes, you are more likely to find the tree for sale rather than its fruit. You may wonder if these are the same fruits you find in stores labeled cherry plums, but those are already hybrid varieties that have gained popularity among plum growers. 

The Takeaway

The fruit of the purple leaf plum tree is edible and can be enjoyed in various ways on par with its larger counterparts. Although it's a little wanting in taste and size, the fruit does offer the health benefits.

Before you go, check out these other posts:

5 Best Crabapple Trees For Fruit

How And When To Prune A Crabapple Tree

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *