Okay, I’m about to try something a little different on this here blog for the next few weeks. I’m headed into my most intense food-preservation period of the year, and such activities will be taking up a lot of my life, limiting both my doing-other-interesting-stuff time and my blogging time. Sooo…I’m gonna just offer you some shorter (I hope), more frequent (I hope) posts about my canning/pickling/drying/freezing/collecting activities. I was going to give myself some kind of crazy goal like 30 posts in 30 days (like Mae and her rad collages), but then I remembered that my kids are starting preschool and kindergarten next week, and I have a bunch of Red Onion Woodworks stuff to catch up on, so I’m not being too overly ambitious at the get go. I’ll try to give you recipes when I can, though they’ll often be links or loose suggestions. I’ll try to give you a couple photos per post, but you’re not going to get a full photo tutorial.
I’ll also pop in from time to time with something not strictly food preservationist (The Coburg Antique Fair is Sunday, September 8 for anyone who wanted a reminder), but mostly you’re going to see food here until early October or so.
I know I’m not the only one right in the thick of things these days, so I’d also like to invite you to share links to food preservation activities from your own blogs or links to recipes you’re following or you’d like to try on other blogs or web spaces. (I really enjoyed reading through the links on my friend Lisa’s blog the other day including a shout out to my naan recipe.) May you have a bountiful harvest and the energy to keep up with it!
What: Cherry Plum Jam/Sauce
Main ingredients and where I got them: First off, I’d like to clarify that I used “cherry plums” NOT cherries + plums. Cherry plums are about an inch in diameter, squishy (as opposed to meaty like Italian prune plums), and they have a tart skin on them. I picked a bunch off a few trees in my parents’ yard and parents’ neighbor’s yard. The honey came from our bees.
How much: I used up nearly two gallons of fruit in two batches. The first batch yielded a little over 6 cups, and the second was about 10 cups.
Recipe:cherry plums, rinsed honey lemon juice
Cook the cherry plums in a non-reactive pot on low heat until they explode. Dump the juicy fruit into a sieve over a bowl, and squish it around a little. Pick out all the pits. Return the juice and the skins to the pot. Add about 1/4 cup of lemon juice for every 4 cups of fruit/juice. Add honey to taste. Cook it down for a while. If you want it thicker and more jam-like, use the frozen-plate, “nudge” test.
Scoop or funnel it into sterilized jars. Wipe the rims of the jars, and screw on canning lids until finger-tight. At this point, you can store jars in the refrigerator, or process them in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes if you want them to be shelf stable.
This sweet-tart stuff is great on ice cream, chocolate cake, or (for the healthy crowd) plain yogurt. Mine was a little too runny to spread on a peanut butter sandwich, but that would certainly taste good.
I think cooking the plums first and then picking out the pits is easier and less wasteful than hand pitting them, but be sure to include the skins because they have a lot of flavor.
I definitely prefer this concoction on the tart side, so don’t be too generous when adding the sweetener.