Skopelos Island could easily be described –beside the greenest island of the Aegean Sea– as “The Island of the Plums” or “The Plum Island of the Aegean”. Plums had been the source of the island prosperity for many years. There are 8 different varieties of plum trees growing here and they are collected from the middle of June to the middle of September. Three of those varieties are mostly used: the black plum, the red plum and the yellow plum.
Skopelos’ famous plums
These sweet plums are the most common found on the island. Locals eat them fresh -they are in abundance in summer, make jam, but they mostly dry them in special kilns to produce the prunes. Prunes are kept in cotton bags and they eat them during the winter or make stewed prunes -a nice dessert for the winter. Local women stuff chicken or pork with the black prunes. It is also nice with sweet pies and meat stew, in Greek “stifado”.
These plums are sour-sweet. They eat them fresh -as a fruit in the summer-, they make jam, but they mostly dry them under the sun or in special kilns to produce the sour prunes. The sour red prunes are also kept in cotton bags. Women here love to use them in their recipes. Lentils soup with red prunes! Fish stew in the oven with red prunes! Octopus or squids casserole with tomatoes, onions and red prunes! Also from its juice they make jelly for dessert.
When ripe, they are very juicy and sweet. Locals do not usually eat them fresh. They collect them unripe, take off the stone and make the “Plum preserve” with the whole fruit.
Prunes are a variety of dried plum, with a rich-tasting, dark, fairly moist flesh. They are eaten out of hand or used as an ingredient in sweet and savory dishes and in baking. To chop prunes: Slit the prune and remove the pit, if necessary. Chop with a chef’s knife. Or, snip with kitchen scissors. If the knife or blades become sticky, dip frequently in hot water or spray lightly with vegetable oil cooking spray.