Dark, handsome plums may be messy, but they compensate by offering plenty of fiber and vitamins C and A. To ripen, leave them on the counter for one to three days (don't refrigerate). When ready, they'll smell sweet and feel slightly tender.

Combine cubed plums with cooked quinoa, chopped toasted cashews, diced red bell pepper, and green onions; toss with a vinaigrette of olive oil, vinegar, and a tad of Dijon mustard.

Mix plum slices with shaved green and red cabbage, pea pods, toasted almonds, chopped cilantro, and a gingery dressing.

For dessert, layer sliced plums with vanilla yogurt and almond granola in parfait glasses. Or use plums and lemon curd inside sliced shortcake.

Boil 1/4 cup orange juice and 1/4 cup water with 2 tablespoons sugar until syrupy; add chopped plums and stew gently until soft. Stir in a bit of vanilla extract and grated lemon peel. Serve over pancakes or French toast.

—Elisa Bosley

What's for dinner?
Find out what's to love—and not love—about your meal by searching the USDA's online Nutrient Data Laboratory, which contains nutritional breakdowns of 7,293 food faves. www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search

—J.R.