Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Plums

The plum thicket was here when we moved in. No one had really lived here in 20-some years. But they were on the edge of the old garden site, so maybe someone planted them once upon a time.

We noticed them a couple of years ago when the largest shrub put some fruit on. We savored that handful of fruit as if we had stumbled upon jewels. Last year we vowed we would be ready for the harvest. They blossomed beautifully. But it was so cold and rainy I don't think the bees visited much. I'm not exaggerating; only three plums that season.

Clancy pruned after that. Only about 20% of what really needs to be cut back. I sometimes think we are the type of people that delight in salvaging and rekindling more than planting and starting from scratch. This one shrub came on strong this year.

I did get the plums picked and washed last night. Today, a wonderful neighbor invited the boys and me over to pick from her thicket as well. We brought home twice as much as our little plum bush gave us last night. I'm going to make plum leather for the boys. Thanks for the how-to and the plums, Gail!


Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

I would love to know how to make that plum leather, too! Could you share?

Sabrina Wille Erickson said...

If I remember right:

1. Wash plums.
2. Put in large pot with just enough water to get a boil. Not very much.
3. Heat just long enough so plums burst. Don't mash or smash them.
4. Squeeze through jelly cloth or some other colander type thing to extract juice and pulp. Pits and most skins held back.
5. Spread pulp out (probably on wax paper over cookie sheets)
6. Dry out. I made dried plums today and used Martha's suggestion of 220F in the oven. At some point the juice really does turn to fruit roll ups. So yummy.

Somehow Gail described how to do it in less words and was even more clear. I probably should have copied her exactly. But I hope that helps. If you don't have wax paper-which I never do-the slightly oiled pan works just fine. I use my pizza pans.
I just realized too that I have no idea how wax paper responds to an oven. Maybe you should do the drying however you usually do.
Good luck. I'm going to give it a try tomorrow. If it fails miserably I'll probably post :), otherwise just assume it turned out edible and the boys have already finished it off.

Sabrina Wille Erickson said...

I forgot: You might want to add a small bit of sugar to the pulp. I think I'll just taste mine and decide then. Gail didn't mention sugar so I'm thinking with the sour skins removed the pulp may be sweet enough on it's own.