Many parents find themselves asking this question as their children frolic on the beach and come back with mouths stained red from eating beach plums. The simple answer is yes, it is safe for children to eat beach plums. But as with any food, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Is It OK To Eat Beach Plums?
Yes, beach plums are considered to be safe. Beach plums (Prunus maritima) are small, thick-skinned plums that have a dark purple color. They tend to have a soft, jelly-like flesh and they range in size from about that of a marble to that of a crab apple (or a small plum).
The first thing to consider is whether you or your child has any allergies. If they are allergic to tree fruits (like plums), for example, they may also be allergic to beach plums. In addition, if your child has a sensitivity to acid — the can be a high-acid fruit — they may experience gastrointestinal discomfort after eating beach plums as well as teeth erosion if eaten every day for extended periods of time. The risk of this is low though, as beach plums tend to have a very short peak season and can’t be found at stores off-season.
If you are trying to eat wild beach plums you are going to want to make sure to take them home and wash them first. This is the case because the are popular with bugs and birds and might be coated in bird dropping or something else you might not want to eat. Also, they might have been sprayed with a pesticide or something else if they weren’t grown on a farm that you can trust. Either way, a good wash is important.
The main safety concern with beach plums is that they contain a small, slippery pit. The pit can easily be swallowed, especially by a child, and it’s not digestible. While swallowing one or two pits won’t be any more dangerous than swallowing the pit of a cherry, the pits are sharper than cherry pits and might be harder to get out or your system, especially if you (or more likely a child) eats too many of them.
So, while the plums are safe to eat, you’ll still want to exercise caution while doing so.
Beach Plums Are Safe
All in all, there is no need to worry if your child eats a few beach plums while at the beach. Just be sure to keep an eye on their intake and make sure they brush their teeth afterwards!