After rowing (last) Sunday, I walked with a friend to her house and was given a bag to pick plums. Their plum tree was drooping with fruit, with tons already on the ground. The plums were so ripe, they dropped easily off into my hand with a gentle scoop. She had already made jam and brought several bags to share at our rowing club, so told me I could take as much as I wanted so it didn’t go to waste. I hate seeing things wasted and I love food, so this was a win for both of us! I need to give her a bottle of elderberry syrup in return.
I knew right away I would make jam and started pitting the fruits. At one point, I was sitting on the sofa with a tray table and plums in front of me with a kitty on my lap, while my wife sat next to me taking elderberries from the stems! My friend said that plums were high in pectin, but I needed to add three apples to the pot and wait patiently for it to set. It took much longer than my apple jam did last year.
As our large soup pot filled up with only half the plums added, I realised I had plenty left for some experimenting! I tried infusing some flavoured rum (I used a corkscrew to poke some holes in each fruit)…
canning* (I never buy fruit in syrup, but tried a light syrup for my first attempt at canning. This website has useful ratios for sugar strengths)…
and drying them! The dried plums are a mix of sweet and tart and will be perfect for an adventurous snack (what will the next bite be?!) or chopped up in fruit loaves, granola, or fruit bars!
One important thing about processing plums, is that they will turn your fingernails purple brown! Honey’s graduation was the day after I played with the plums so I scrubbed and soaked my fingers in lemon juice to fade it. The juice faded the plum stain pretty well…but left it yellowy. Personally, I think I would have preferred looking like I was just digging in fresh dirt rather than looking like I had yellowed fingers from a certain ‘habit’! Anyway, think about what you’ll be doing in the week after you process plums before starting without gloves.
*The canning was unsuccessful because the top of the jar went black after a few days…EW! I didn’t blanch the fruit first because ‘the internet’ told me that I could just put the clean fruit in before covering it with syrup. Do people actually just can fruit in syrup? Perhaps they use the other type of sealed jar, with the screw on lid?