Plum Kernel Oil (Prunus domestica)
The plum is a drupe fruit with a fleshy exterior surrounding a hard pit, within which the kernel is stored. Plum kernel oil is cold-pressed from these. Dried plums are called prunes, and the French call plums prunes, so plum kernel oil is sometimes referred to as prune kernel oil.
Plum trees are grown for culinary and ornamental purposes around the world. The second most cultivated fruit after apples, plums come in thousands of varieties, though only a few of these are commercially cultivated. The plum tree is important in Chinese mythology and Taoism. It symbolises longevity and wisdom.
The European plum variety is mentioned in 2,000-year-old writings and probably originated in the region around the Caspian Sea.
Our plum oil comes from a crossbred variety related to another Old World plum, the damson plum (Prunus institia). According to ancient writings, this species originated in the Damascus region. This plum was created by the monks of the Abbey of Clairac by crossing damsons with a local variety.
The fruits are harvested in August and September. The extremely tough pits have to be broken down by a mechanical hammer to obtain the small kernels inside, which are made up of around 20% oil. The oil is cold-pressed without the use of heat, chemicals or solvents.
The oil is rich in beneficial oleic (60-80%) and linoleic (15-25%) fatty acids, as well as vitamin E and B vitamins.
The high oleic acid content mean that this a lovely material for lip balms, massage products and other cosmetics for dry skins. The antioxidant action of vitamin E is particularly good for mature skins.
The oil is pale yellow in color and has a sweet, nutty, marzipan-like aroma. It absorbs easily without leaving an oily residue.