Friday, August 17, 2007


Our prior home included a number of ancient fruit trees on the nearly 1/2 acre property. The apples were nasty and the pears so wormy that I cut most of the fruit away before making chutney and pear butter, but the Italian plums were always perfect. The trees looked so spindly that I was pleasantly surprised by improbably heavy yields nearly every year.

I love the meaty, flavorful Italian plums more than any other variety I've tasted, though there was a delightfully juicy honey-sweet golden plum that grew on a now-deceased tree when I was a kid, but I've never seen another of those succulent beauties as an adult and have no idea what the variety was. Italian plums are easy enough to find this time of year. They dry beautifully, of course, and they are very pretty for baking (and don't these look lovely?) but in my opinion, jam is where they shone most brightly.

I was recently lamenting the loss of those plum trees to a friend who offered up this year's crop off her trees in exchange for a few jars of the resulting jam. We picked the plums slightly under ripe so I gave them a few days to soften and develop more flavor. I made a lower sugar jam using LM pectin and was delighted at the yield: a half grocery bag of plums became 16 pints of delicious jam . Of course some goes to the plum-supplying friend, but the remainder is a treasure to tuck away for winter breakfasts. And I really need to think about planting an Italian plum here in my yard.

No comments: