Weinviertel Spenling Plum

Ark of taste
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Spenling, sometimes written as “spilling,” is a variety of plum of the species Prunus domestica subsp. pomariorum. The fruit is a drupe with a yellow skin, without spots, but with heavy white stripes. When fully ripe, the fruits are extremely sensitive to pressure and can quickly develop brown marks. The flesh is waxy yellow, moderately juicy, and very sweet. The flesh easily detaches from the stone. Due to its hardiness, the tree can be cultivated over a wide area, up to elevations of 800 meters. In the Weinviertel area of northeastern Austria, spenling fruits are ready to be picked from mid to late August. When fully ripe, they have a short shelf life. Spenling plums are either eaten as whole fruit or processed into compotes, fruit schnapps, or jams. The pulp has a sweet taste that becomes sour when heated. The yellow spenling is indigenous to the area and very rare today. The fruits are mainly harvested for family consumption and consumed at home. Fruits and process products can occasionally be found in farm shops, and even more rarely in small markets. Distilled beverages made from the fruit can be found in some areas. Historically, this variety was often used as rootstock for grafting other varieties. In the 1960s and 1970s in Austria, there was a major decline in the cultivation of domestic, ungrafted, small, primitive plum varieties. This fruit was once widespread in the area, and subsequently known by many folk names by local growers in different areas, including spänling, rossbauken, kriecherl, siewerl, bidling, pemsen, punzen, pflundern, ziberln, and zwispitz. Along with these old names, awareness about planting and using these local plums is also being lost.

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