Greengages are cultivar fruit trees belonging to the Prunus genus. At present, greengages are considered a subspecies of the common plum Prunus domestica. Greengages are grown mainly in Western Europe, with many varieties of this subspecies having been created. In Germany, these plums are called Reneklode or Ringlotte, in Poland and the Czech Republic they are known as ringle, in Hungary - as ringló. In Slovakia, they are called ringloty.
Greengages are not particularly tall trees. In height they reach up to 26 ft (8 m). The crown of the tree has a slightly rounded shape. The bark is grey in color. Young branches are often drooping. They are red-brown colored. The leaves are ellipsoid, up to 4 3/4″ (12 cm) long. They can reach 2 1/2″ (6 cm) in width. They are leathery with a pointed end. The flowers are single and bloom with the leaves. The fruits are rounded, containing pits. Their color differs depending on the variety - green, yellow, blue and others.
Types of Greengages
As mentioned, there are many varieties of this subspecies. One example is the Graf Althans Reneklode, distinguished by its large fruits weighing up to 1.6 oz (45 g). They are rounded and sightly flattened toward the stem area. Their flesh is yellow, juicy, very sweet, crunchy, pleasant to the taste. The aroma also has a delightful scent. The pits are easy to remove from the juicy consistency.
The flesh is covered with yellow to pink skin. It is not uncommon to see tiny red spots and a waxy coating on it. Graf Althans Reneklode fruits are used in cooking and the production of fruit brandy. This variety is drought resistant and relatively resistant to low temperatures. It can be grown at higher altitudes as well. It is not too choosey when it comes to the soil. The fruits are ready for picking in mid-August.
The Large Green Reneklode is another common variety. It is a rapidly growing tree, forming an oval crown. The fruits are rounded, weighing about 1 oz (33 g), yellow colored. The flesh is yellowish, juicy, with a sweet-sour taste. The pits are relatively easy to remove. The fruits are suitable for consumption fresh or after heat treatment. Large Green greengages are among the plants that bloom medium early. It is not very sensitive to late spring temperature drops. The variety is not affected by early brown rot brought by drought.
Choosing and Storing Greengages
Greengages are collected when the tree is shaken down. The fruits can also be taken down by pushing on the branches lightly with a pole. It is advised to clear the area under the tree of any grass and trash before shaking it down. An easier way is to lay out a large plastic sheet or canvas under it. If the fruits are picked while partially ripened they would be able to withstand transportation. Otherwise, they might spoil.
If you can't grow your own greengages, you can buy them from the supermarket. Look for firm greengages that are smooth and without bruises on the skin. They should not be emitting an unpleasant odor. If the fruits are too soft and give off a strange smell, don't buy them. If the greengages are partially ripened, they can be stored in a cool area for several days. However, if they are well ripened, don't wait too long to use them. Try to eat them as soon as possible.
Cooking with Greengages
Greengages can be used in cooking the same way as the fruits of Prunus domestica. They can be added successfully to various baked goods, including cakes, pies, cupcakes, biscuits, cozonac, rolls. They are used to make jams, jellies, compotes, dried fruit compotes. They can be used to produce nectars, juices and ever fruit brandy. In some countries they make wine from them as well. When fresh, they can be put into all kinds of fruit salads. The combination between greengages and citrus fruits such as oranges, mandarins and bananas, kiwis, etc. is also enticing.
Let us offer you a quick-to-make fruit salad with greengages:
Preparation: Wash the fruits well and clean them. Dice them into medium-sized pieces. Put the fruits in a deep bowl and add the cream and honey. Mix everything and distribute the salad into small bowls. Sprinkle with cinnamon and ground walnuts on top.
Benefits of Greengages
Greengages are recommended for consumption since they are a source of proteins, vitamin A and vitamin C. The fruits also contain phosphorus and potassium. Eating them has a strengthening effect on the immune system. The compounds found in them aid for a better metabolism. These plums have a detoxifying action. According to some experts, greengages help people suffering from panic, neurosis, irrational fear. They are good against nighttime bedwetting of children.