The Aylesbury Prune is considered an old traditional English damson plum (Prunus insititia), emblematic to Buckinghamshire. Damson plums are a subspecies of the plum tree, and many cultivars are native to Great Britain, but some argue that the Aylesbury Prune is actually not a damson plum but rather a natural hybrid between a plum (Prunus domestica) and a damson plum (Prunus insititia).
The origin of the Aylesbury is not certain, but some say it derives from the culinary plum variety Laxton’s Cropper. It is believed to have originated in the early nineteenth century in the Vale of Aylesbury and the surrounding zone to the west of the Chiltern hills, which was a traditional fruit-growing area. In 1948, the Aylesbury Prune was delivered to the National Fruit Collection. Since the beginning, it was grown commercially, but on a small scale. It was a highly appreciated fruit at the London markets, however nowadays it is difficult to find. The trees have a rough bark and twisted trunk, and can be found in remnant orchards and hedgerows.
The Aylesbury Prune is a small to medium-sized, oval-shaped fruit. Its skin is blue-black in color. The Aylesbury Prune is known for its late ripening, it can be harvested in October when earlier varieties have long finished. Its flavour is sweet and slightly acidic, which makes it perfect for culinary uses. It also used to be grown for its use in the manufacture of clothing dyes.
The Aylesbury Prune can be eaten straight from the tree or added to cakes and tarts. It also makes good preserves, and is often used to make jam. The Aylesbury Prune can be served as an accompaniment to meat.