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Italian Prune Plums, a.k.a, Empress Plums

Italian Prune PlumItalian Prune Plums, a.k.a, Empress Plums

Italian Prune Plums are rather rare in the U.S., at least commercially.  Home growers often have them, and the plants are available from a number of nurseries.

Basically, Italian Prune Plums (also called Empress Plums) are a European-type plum, similar to an English Damson plum.

Italian Prune or Empress plums, are a European freestone version of  Prunus domestica. and are commercially usually used to make prunes. They are very sweey, with a high concentration of fermentable sugars.  Other uses for them are eating fresh, cooking, baking and making preserves, wine and brandy. In bakling, they are often used fresh in cakes and tarts.

Empress plums pair well with:

  • Meats:
    • stuffing in poultry and pork
    • Meats, like lamb, poultry and wild game
    • Bacon
  • Desserts
    • Fruit tartsDamson plums
    • brandy or Cointreau (infused to make pureed sauce to put on desserts,)
  • Chocolate,
  • Flavors and herbs
    • vanilla,
    • nutmeg,
    • fennel,
    • chiles,
  • Fruit
    • tropical fruits,
    • citrus,
    • preserves, jams and jellies - see recipes below
  • Dairy
    • butter and cream.
    • cheeses (especially mild fresh cheeses)


They don't last long, but can be stored in the fridge for up to one week.

Preserves and Canning


  • Yuba City California Annual Prune Festival
    Yuba City, California. You find prunes in all forms here, from dried plums, desserts, appetizers, along with music and a parade.

Sources for Italian Prune Plums (when in season)

Sources for Empress Plum trees


Stark Brothers