Dyeing Red Mộc Châu with Red Plum Season

Thứ ba, 30/05/2017 11:42

The beginning of summer is when plums are bearing all over Northern highlands of Vietnam. Because of harsher climate, Northern fruits are not as diverse and as the South’s but it does not mean quality of those is much different.

The plum tree with its fruits in the mountainous town of Nông Trường, Mộc Châu, Sơn La Province.

Northern highlands in Vietnam have a separate climate from the south, including enough 4 seasons in a year, in which winter is long and cold while summer is really hot. Therefore, temperate plants can grow here, such as peaches, nectarines, apricots, and plums – which never can grow in the tropical south.

So-called plums in the North are quite diverse and the most popular types are red plums (3 flowers plums and Hậu plums), besides there are prunes (European plums) and greengage plums in Tả Van and Tả Hoàng Ly (Bắc Hà, Lào Cai), and green prunes (Lạng Sơn). Bắc Hà (Lào Cai province) is the capital and like “ground zero” of plum trees in Vietnam. Around 2 decades ago, this type of temperate trees was brought to Mộc Châu, Sơn La province. Although coming late, plum trees in Mộc Châu were zoned into orchards with tea trees intercropping, which came out a much better result. Plum trees have suited climate and soils in Sơn La province and that advantage have made a huge difference in shape and quality of Mộc Châu plums from other plums. Moreover, Mộc Châu is close to Hà Nội capital with better and more convenient transportation so that almost trading plums all over Vietnam are from Mộc Châu.

A branch with ripening plums.

When April comes to the end, apricot season is over and plums have just come. Mộc Châu plums have a firm and fibrous texture, a natural wax layer on their pinky-yellowish skin and ripe fruits get dark red to purple inside out. This type of plums tastes still a bit sour, even when they’re ripe. Only when the whole fruit are really ripe to soft, the taste turns completely sweet.

Not only good tasting, red plums are also a natural medicine with multi-effects.


Red plums contain much anthocyanin – an anti-oxidant supplement can neutralize oxygen radicals that cause cancer. Vitamin C and fiber support digestive system and usefully prevent colon cancer.

Reduce cholesterol absorption

High vitamin C content of red plums prevents cholesterol from oxidizing in the arteries, eliminating bad cholesterol from the body.

As a result, eating plum can prevent atherosclerosis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma.

Good for cardiovascular system

Red plums are rich in Kali that helps adjust blood pressure and dramatically reduce the risk of stroke.

Enhances iron absorption

High vitamin C content in plums is the basis to help our body to effectively absorb iron and to increase the ability of fighting disease and infection of the body.

Laxative supplement

Red plums carry lots of fiber, isatin, and sorbitol, which are extremely good substances for the digestive system, regulating the function of this internal organs. Eating plum helps to regulate bowel movement, reduce the risk of constipation.

Many people treat constipation by eating dried prunes or fresh plums.

Fully ripe hau plums.

Rich source for eyes

Besides vitamin C, red plums also carry beta-carotene, which are nutrition of eyes. Eating plums can help reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration, an eye disease that can lead to blindness.

Recently, only in Mộc Châu ward there are over 1,800 hectare of plum orchards with capacity up to 25,000 tons per year (data from 2010). To avoid devaluation as other typical agricultural produce, Mộc Châu ward has turned red plums to a year-round specialty. They produce dried whole and dried pitted plums, plum candies and pickled plums in mass, and plum wine with much longer shelf-life and easier to transport.

When the season starts, the price of red plums could go up to $5.00 per kilogram but it downs to $1.00 - $2.00 per kilograms in peak season with better quality. Plums’ aroma and flavors are too mouthwatering for women to resist. Besides eating fresh plums with hot pepper salt, plum syrup is a delicious and healthy drink that anyone can do it.



- 2kg ripe plums

- 1.5kg white sugar


- Wash plums and drain; cut around the fruit and lightly squeeze the two halves to open it up; take the seed out.

- Glass containers should be clean and dried ahead. Place plums and white sugar in to containers, layer by layer. Cover the last layer with the rest of sugar.

- Cover. Store containers in cool airy places about 5 days (until sugar are dissolved).

- Serve plum syrup with ice.

By Thu Pham

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