Plum’s the word: all hail the Queen
Naturally containing up to seven times more antioxidants than other plum varieties, the Queen Garnet plum has been dubbed the “queen of antioxidants” thanks to scientific research from leading Australian universities and institutions such as the CSIRO, Victoria University, the University of Wollongong and the University of Southern Queensland.
A 2019 human trial found that daily consumption of Queen Garnet plum juice decreased biomarkers of inflammation and reduced blood pressure and fat levels in hypertensive and overweight study participants. In a separate study, eating Queen Garnet plums was found to reduce the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease.
Researchers attribute these effects to the Queen Garnet’s anthocyanins – powerful antioxidants found in red, blue and purple fruits and vegetables. The fruit’s signature dark purple flesh is also an indicator of its high antioxidant content.
The University of Southern Queensland has also included the fruit in its Fight Food Waste Scheme, a promising study measuring additional bioactive compounds in the plum which could offer health benefits during various stages of harvest.
Functional food with a whole-crop solution
Perfect growing conditions have delivered fantastic fruit quality and doubled the yield of the Queen Garnet plum this season, and you can now find them in stores nationally until the end of March. But you can also enjoy the health benefits of the regal Queen Garnet plum year-round thanks to a range of value-added products using minimal waste processing methods, where excess fruit is made into plum nectar, freeze-dried plum powder, probiotic chewables and probiotic and prebiotic powder.
The 100 percent Queen Garnet nectar can be consumed on its own, mixed with mineral water, in cocktails or used in healthy treats like chia seed puddings and sorbets. The probiotic and prebiotic powder and Queen Garnet plum powder can all add a royal touch to smoothies, protein balls, cereal breakfast parfaits and pancakes. But while her majesty is in season, why not try making a plum summer slushie? We’ve included the recipe below.
Luke Couch CEO of Nutrafruit, the Queensland-based company that makes the value-added products, says the business is projecting a 300 percent growth this year in export markets, with countries including the United Arab Emirates, China, Canada, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore now accounting for up to 50 percent of this year’s harvest.
“More people are trying to find natural foods to enhance their health and wellbeing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, so we’re expecting this year’s harvest to sell out quickly,” he says.
The Queen Garnet – the crown jewel of Australian plums – is now available at Woolworths and Coles supermarkets, selected retail outlets and central fresh produce markets nationwide, until the end of March.
Plum summer slushie
Prep time 10 minutes
500g seedless watermelon, roughly diced
2 cups frozen Queen Garnet plums, cored and sliced
Juice of 1 lime
1 cup ice cubes
Fresh mint to serve
1. Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until well combined.
2. Serve immediately and top with a spring of fresh mint.