'Greengage' is a beautiful name - but for these little plums, it's one of many. In France, they're known as 'Reine-Claude', and in Turkey, they're somewhat less romantically named 'Erik'.
The sweet dessert plums were first imported to Britain in 1724, but are now firmly embedded in our national cuisine. They start to ripen round late August and September. It's round this time that the skin is at its thinnest and luminescent, just concealing the juicy flesh below.
An under ripe greengage has the same tartness as rhubarb or gooseberry. But a perfectly ripe greengage is sweet and succulent. They are delicious eaten raw, and are often also cooked in desserts or savoury condiments. Greengages are widely-available at greengrocers and supermarkets when in season. To prolong enjoyment, greengages can be preserved in alcohol, turned into a jam, or poached and then frozen.