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Persian-Azeri-Georgian Sour Plums - Where to Buy in SF, Berkeley, Oakland or North Bay?

I'm putting on a Georgian (the republic, not the state) supra (banquet) and need sour plums. I've seen the fresh ones in spring time at the Armenian grocers in Fresno. I'm told that Persian markets might sell preserved sour plums or plum paste. Anyone familiar with this product? I have limited time to call around, don't know what to ask for, and am just hoping someone has seen it on the shelf. Where can I buy this Thursday morning in San Francisco, along the 80-corridor (Berkeley, Oakland, Albany, El Cerrito), Marin or Sonoma counties?

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  1. The Russian stores in SF might be a good bet.

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    Gastronom
    5801 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA

    New World Market
    5641 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

    European Food
    3038 Clement St, San Francisco, CA

    1 Reply
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      I asked a Georgian friend, and he said he has never seen them at any of SF's Russian markets. He's the one who said I should try Persian stores outside the City. So I'm hoping that somebody will know what this product is called at those places or has actually seen it.

    2. If it's an Armenian thing, they will almost certainly have it at Royal.

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      Gastronom
      5801 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA

      New World Market
      5641 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

      European Food
      3038 Clement St, San Francisco, CA

      Royal Market & Bakery
      5335 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA

      1. Any Persian grocery store should have them. You can ask for sour dried plums, or aloocheh. They're smaller than prunes, generally more dried out than dried fruit is here, and are quite tart.

        4 Replies
        1. re: rose water

          thanks a bunch. Headed back to the City now.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Make sure that you get pitted ones! I bought sour plums with pits at Rose Market in Mountain View and spent an annoying forty-five minutes pitting them.

            1. re: YSZ

              They're often thrown into Persian stews pits and all. Just need to warn diners to be on the lookout for them.

              They're totally different than the gojeh sabz mentioned by RL below. Those are little rocks of green tart fresh spring fruit available around March; the aloocheh are dried sweet sour fruit available in persian grocery stores all the time.

          2. re: rose water

            I stopped by Super Sunnyvale, which is a hybrid Mexican/Persian market, and found two likely products. One is "Fine Sour Plum Tamer," a soft brown paste in a plastic pouch, which includes pits but they would be easy to remove. The other seemed to be a dozen whole plums, preserved, and vacuum packed so that individual plums could probably be extracted. Labeled Damson plums.

            Both products are red/brown, so I think there are two types of products--the unripe green plums eaten with salt (goje sabz), and a tart red plum somewhat like our Santa Rosa plums that even when ripe isn't actually sweet.

            Here's a picture front and back of the same pack I bought last night:
            (public, doesn't require log in):
            http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbi...

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            Super Sunnyvale
            933 E Duane Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94085

          3. According to my Georgian cookbooks, the Georgian name for unripe mirabelle plum preserves is tkemali.

            The Persian name for unripe plums is gojeh sabz. I'm not sure they make preserves from them. I don't think dried would be very similar.

            1. Moscow & Tbilisi reportedly had some a few years ago.

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              Moscow & Tbilisi Bakery Store
              5540 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA

              1 Reply
              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Typically they do make their own from fresh plums. But not this year, missed buying plums in season. This would be the place to check next spring/summer.