Sour Plums

May 6, 2010  •  Category:

I saw mounds of these at the Palestinian grocer and  my heart skipped a beat.

They brought me back to Beirut in the seventies; we used to eat these as a snack  after school. We’d buy them from cart vendors. They would appear in the Spring only.

Here is the link to a nursery that carries them.

Here is how they are eaten: dipped in salt!

They are tiny (an inch across, no more),  a tad sour, juicy and very crunchy!

It makes me happy to see my daughter, who missed out on the experience of growing up in a mediterranean country, grab them and eat them like I did. These come from California.

I am thinking of replacing the salt with chili powder or Aleppo pepper.


71 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Sue says:

    I just spent the last 30 minutes perusing your site. We share the same Lebanese background (though I was born here) and it was great to see so many familiar dishes. I look forward to seeing many more. 🙂

  2. momgateway says:

    …I’m unfamiliar with this but I love to dip sour fruits in salt too…!

  3. deana says:

    Another new taste for me… I think I need to make a visit to a middle-eastern neighborhood to see what I can find.

  4. Faith says:

    These pretty little plums are new to me…they sound delicious though! Sour and salty is a great flavor combo. I always learn so much when I visit your lovely blog! 🙂

  5. The Little Teochew says:

    Hi Joumana, the next time your brother meets with you, ask him to get you a packet of sour plum powder from Singapore. It’s commonly eaten with guava, but it’s a great dip for a lot of other fruits, even apples, pears etc. I think you will like it. 🙂 It’s very cheap and easily available at markets.

  6. Bria @ WestofPersia says:

    Adore these tasty sour plums. You’re lucky you were able to find them near you 🙂

  7. SYLVIA says:

    It is tangy, tart and sweet combination. Although they don’t taste like the ones we grew up with, the flavor is a little different, memories sure don’t lose their meaning, we used to compete with our classmates at school recess to see who can eat these acidic fruits the most, years later I found out that, the acid has a healthy nutritional element, unfortunately this liver detoxifying fruit, only Mediterranean and Japanese markets carry it.

  8. gertrude says:

    I remember eating this type of sour plum pickle when I was young. They were sweet, tangy and tart at the same time.

  9. [ec_vancouver] || js says:

    Best way to eat fruits, in my opinion, is with salt!

  10. Sara says:

    I recently saw these green plums in my local Syrian Market but was not sure how to use them or eat them. I like your idea of eating them with salt!!! I would also like to try them with the Aleppo Pepper! I recently bought a wonderful book by Poopa Dweck, “Aromas of the Aleppo” & she uses the Aleppo pepper in her recipes!!! You have a gorgeous blog & I love Lebanese cuisine, I have many dear Lebanese friends! Cheers!

  11. ts, eatingclub says:

    Oh, nice, nice, nice! I thought only people in the Philippines (or perhaps other SE Asian countries) ate sour fruit with salt! Fruit + salt is the way to go. =D

  12. 5 Star Foodie says:

    I’ve never seen them! How interesting that you eat these sour plums dipped in salt! I would love to try!

  13. noobcook says:

    looks like a really nice snack. I love fruits dipped in salt 😀

  14. KennyT says:

    I’d love to try this lovely fruit!

  15. Sushma Mallya says:

    Sour plums somewhat look like indian gooseberry..but would love to try this sometime…

  16. Choosy Beggar Tina says:

    I love salted fresh fruits, especially the tart or tangy ones! An Iranian friend of mine showed me the joys of unripe green grapes off the vine from her backyard (and these are crappy Concord style grapes, not wine grapes). With a pinch of salt they were just divine, and I imagine that these sour plums would be even better!!

  17. touria says:

    never seen them before but sound delicious especially with salt

  18. Cherine says:

    Des prunes vertes!!! j’adore ce fruit!!

  19. Sasa says:

    Do you always eat them fresh or also make pickles etc?

  20. Priya says:

    I would love to taste this fruit..looks like our gooseberries..

  21. Angie's Recipes says:

    HA! I ate these sour plums so often when I was still a kid….my teeth now can’t take them any more…

  22. tigerfish says:

    Oh dear, both of us are talking about childhood snacking but yours is definitely healthy and natural! I’m bathed in guilt right now.

  23. Murasaki Shikibu says:

    This brings back memories of eating green mango & Santol with coarse sea salt back in the Philippines. Never tried this with green plums though. They didn’t have green plums in the Philippines and the Japanese make plum wine out of it mostly. I’ve seen them on the market so I’ve got to try this out. 🙂

    By the way the shrimp recipe you posted with cilantro pesto is one of my all time favorite ways to cook shrimp. It also helped that I managed to do a good job but it was really really delicious!

  24. peteformation says:

    We have similar fruit here but there are a litte yellow in colour when ripe. The unripe ones have light green colours.

  25. Rachana Kothari says:

    Sour n salty is a mouthwatering combination! I would love to try these cute little plums:)
    Have a great weekend!

  26. Maninas says:

    Sounds fantastic. My husband would love this. (he prefers his fruit unripe, totally sour!)

  27. 12th Man says:

    For 30 years, I was a sugar-on-my-grapefruit guy. Then I got married, saw my wife put salt on hers, tried it, and couldn’t believe what I had been missing. And yet, never thought of trying that with anything else, even other sour fruits. Thanks!

  28. Heavenly Housewife says:

    I’ve never seen those before. I do know, however, how fabulous it is to see a food that you haven’t seen or eaten for so long. It brings you so much happy memories.
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    *kisses* HH

  29. Chef E says:

    I am playing catch up since I just got home from a trip, but you post the most wonderful things! I just tried a loquat in FL, so I am on a mission to try all kinds of food!

    I love the gyros and am hating you for that one, since there are NO greek places to eat here. I wonder if an American chef opening a Greek restaurant would be too crazy. I just found out an Indian opened a southwest place called Moe’s, lol!

  30. Stevie says:

    Everything really does taste better with salt. Are these sour plums the same as unripe plums or something else entirely?

    • Joumana says:

      I think they are called green egg sour plums; they don’t get bigger than one inch and they are eaten as is with salt.

  31. citronetvanille says:

    Oh donc si ca vient de Californie, je devrais en trouver, on n’a pas trop d’épiceries orientales ici, mais je pense que je devrais en trouver au Berkeley Bowl. C’est marrant ca ressemble à la mirabelle verte. On peut en faire des tartes ou ca se mange cru?

  32. Arlette says:

    I ve been away for a while and the first thing i see here is the Jararang…. Oh my God Ya Joumana ,,,, what a teaser.. these are my favourite…
    Took me back to Beirut….
    How are you my friend…. Missed your posting and your news… Been very busy and now I am taking a short break before the Farmer’s Market Season.

  33. Mona says:

    Never came across the beauties, what a lovely emerald green color.

  34. Namitha says:

    Never seen them before…we have some similar berries in Kerala, the south of India, where I come from 🙂

  35. Sridevi says:

    We used to eat unriped mango with salt and little chilli applied on it and Gooseberry too. I will give out a try with sour plums.

  36. MaryMoh says:

    I haven’t seen these green plums here. But I love to sprinkle salt on any sour fruits. t somehow brings out the sweetness.

  37. Mary says:

    I have never seen these, but if ever I have the chance I’ll give them a try. Thanks for your comments on my blog. It was a wonderful place to grow up and I was surrounded by loving and caring people. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

  38. mangocheeks says:

    Thank you so much for coming by my blog. It really was an honour to have you over. I don’t know very much about Lebaniese cuisine, but what i have eaten I have enjoyed and what I have not (vergetarian permitting) I am curious to try.

  39. Katie@Cozydelicious says:

    I saw some of these at the market last week and had no idea what they were or what to do with them! Now I know! I’ll have to get some and try them with salt – or I love the aleppo pepper idea! Yum!

  40. Aysegul - nysdelight says:

    Funny – I just posted some too – in turkish we call them can erik and they are sooo good with salt! I posted them as sour green plums..yummy…

  41. Vanessa says:

    Amazing photos and inspiring ideas. I’m so glad you managed to find these again and that they brought back such good memories. _Have a wonderful weekend Joumana and thanks for your lovely comment.

  42. Muneeba says:

    I have a feeling I’ve had these as a kid, growing up in Dubai … I just don’t remember what we used to call them. But I do remember liking them! Dammit, I wish my memory was better :p

  43. Sylva says:

    We called them djenerig… maybe it’s a derivation of the word can erik?!?

  44. TastyTrix says:

    Those are some cute plums. Yet another thing you have made me want! At least this time you have shown me how to get it!

  45. Tracy says:

    I think I would like these very much. They look like green cherries. 🙂

  46. Krista says:

    Oh, these are so cute!! I’ve never had them before. 🙂 I am going to hunt down a Palestinian grocery pronto!!!

  47. OysterCulture says:

    I’e seen these and wanted to try them but was looking for an idea on how to treat them – thanks for sharing this wonderful information. I’d not have thought to serve them with salt.

  48. mo says:

    Does anyone know where I can get these in the San Francisco Bay Area? PLEASE!!! I miss these SOOOO MUCH… I haven’t eaten them in years.

  49. Coconut Raita says:

    I love sour fruit but I tend to add salt and chilli rather than just one or the other. I’m going to look out for these and give them a go!

  50. Soma says:

    These remind me of the “ber” we got in India.. just wondering if they are the same things and craving as bad for those as I did when I was back home.

  51. Mathai says:

    Hmm they remind me of Gooseberries from back home in India, we eat them with salt and it lessens the sourness of the berries 🙂

  52. Wissam says:

    Man! hamad timmee hmmmmmmm shat ri2e kamena….
    well due where i live its hard to find these in our region due to the weather…. i miss eating it 🙁

  53. Terra says:

    I’m sitting here eating green plums with salt right now. 🙂 They are very common across south Mississippi and Alabama. We would take them to school with the salt and plums in separate little baggies. My sensitive teeth won’t let me eat as many as I like now, but I still enjoy them from time to time!

  54. Mariam says:

    My heart be still! I’m 4 months pregnant and craving these. Joumana, your site is amazing and you are inspirational! I am known in my family as the sour lover–pomegranate molasses is eaten with a spoon, lemons with salt, and gerenic with salt. These pictures are truly mouth watering! Thank you.

  55. vartan says:

    Hello, I just saw the sour plums and was excited to see them because I am a farmer of these plums. I am Armenian and I know that all Middle-easterners love this fruit. The link to the nursery was great but its not the same plum.

  56. cary says:

    I just saw a huge basket of these plums in Berkeley Bowl west. The tag says “California Sour Plums”. I forgot how much they were going for

  57. Josh says:

    this sounds delicious! my coworker who has lebanese heritage was telling me about these today at work, and then she found this and showed it to me! we’re going to try to find some – anyone know were we could find some in new york city?

  58. Simon says:

    I have to make a trip to Allentown, I know they have them.

  59. Bigmama says:

    They are “Can Erik”, “life/soul plum” in Turkish. I think your name of janerek/jarareng derives from it. It is a pretty common snack (with salt of course) in Turkey.

  60. Rawan Abdelqader says:

    I love them I eat them every year!!!!!!!!!!!!

  61. Rawan Abdelqader says:

    I love those!!!!!!!I eat them everyday!!!!!

  62. Mago says:

    I am crazy about the green plum or Jenerik as they are called in Lebanon. Great with salt. They hit the Abu Dhabi malls a week back and vanish from the shelves quickly. Dip them in salt….pop them whole and crunch away !! It has a small seed do be careful not to chip a tooth….And they’re addictive…Just go for it guys.

  63. Kevin says:

    Many people from the south eastern USA also eat sour fruits with salt.I also enjoy crabapplle(unripe) with salt or soaked in vinegar and salt.

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