Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Foraged Plums - June 20, 2012

Just as peach season wrapped up, we turned the Hartman house to plum central. A few weeks ago Richie discovered that some of the pretty flowering trees in front of some office buildings not far from our house were not just the typical ornamental cherries or ubiquitous Bradford pears but are actually fruit-bearing plum trees. He kept an eye on them and then when they turned ripe and started dropping onto the sidewalk in mass quantities late last week, we decided it was time to pounce. Early Saturday morning we threw a ladder, a basket, and a few canvas grocery bags into the car and came home with an astonishing 26+ pounds of fruit!

I then proceeded to spend the rest of Saturday working furiously to preserve as many as I could since they were ripening and splitting open in front of my eyes and I was about to leave on a three-day business trip Sunday morning.

Remembering the "Italian prunes" my mother used to can each summer for us to eat all winter, I put up 13 pints of whole plums in syrup. I also made two kinds of jam - one just plain fruit and the other plums with spices. 

Then this morning I made a small batch of this plum chutney that just happened to be posted on The Kitchn by the author of Food in Jars at the very moment I was looking for something else to do with the remainder of my plums! This was my first experience with chutney outside of the stuff you get at an Indian restaurant so I didn't know what to expect. I slathered some on a portion of the leftover smoked pork shoulder we did last week and stuck it between two slices of hearty bread and discovered it turned some ordinary leftovers into an amazing sandwich! I'm a chutney convert now!

We still have a few pounds of the least ripe ones left in the refrigerator and the remainder of a plum crisp I improvised Saturday night to eat, but the rest have been jammed and/or canned and added to my growing pantry stash! 

1 comment:

Jess said...

Ha! My sister, Kate, refers to this activity as "fruit pirating." She scouts her neighborhood for fruit producing trees and shrubs on public property (branches overhanging the sidewalks count) while walking the dog. She even has a special tool to pick hard to reach fruit...a sort of basket attached to a long pole. She would be quite envious of this plum jackpot you have found. Nice work on all those preserves! Holy man, I bet that was a long day of work!


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