Beach Plums


Growing up, beach plums were a common part of life. Members of my family made beach plum jelly and it was a staple of the breakfast table. I associate them with Cape Cod, where they grow and my family harvested them. They were talked about a lot and there was an implication that I knew all about them.

The other day, hiking in the salt marshes of Provicnetown, I came upon a beach plum bush and initially throught I’d stumbled upon some kind of robust blueberry. Becasue it’s been years since I ate — or really thought about — beach plum jelly, it took me a few minutes to put it together. I wasn’t certain about my threory until I got home and looked it up.

Beach plums don’t ripen until late August or early September, so when they were ready I was back in school and never dispatched to pick them. Until this week, I may have never seen them in an unprocesed condition. It reminds me that we know so little about so much of what we eat.


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