Monday, January 23, 2012

Yummy Plums!

So who said seedling trees are a waste of time? :) These gorgeous fruit are from self seeded trees in our garden that I left to grow, just in case. Yes, they took a few years to reach fruiting size, but they got there! The yellow plum is small and freestone (the fruit separates easily from the stone) so has proven to be very good for cutting in half for drying or other preserving methods. The red one is a proper blood plum with sweet deep red fruit, possibly grew from seeds from a supermarket plum. It's about half the size of the ones on the supermarket shelves but that's still big enough.

I've been using a damaged wheelbarrow covered in glass and a net curtain as a dehydrator. It's working very well.

Other uses for the plums have included plum cordial and plum icecream as well as lots of them eaten fresh- breakfast for a few weeks now has been a half toasted muffin and a bowl full of fresh stone fruit (apricots, peaches, plums) maybe with some tinned fruit too and a blob of cream. Yum!
The apricots have finished for the year as have the early peaches (Goldmine variety) but the late peaches (seedling trees again) are still ripening.

Pick a large saucepanful of plums. Just barely cover with water and stew gently. Strain the juice- I put the pulp through a colander first to get out the stones and skin, then put the rest through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Measure the juice into a saucepan, and for every two cups add two cups of sugar and a teaspoonful of citric acid. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 mins. Bottle, store in fridge unless you can sterilise it in a Fowler's kit or similar. Fairly strong, use at about 1:6 concentration or to taste.  

Keep the pulp for other recipes- jam, sauce or my aforementioned icecream. 

Whip 300ml. of cream. Separate 4 eggs, beat the whites until stiff and add the yolks to the pulp with sugar to taste- probably 2-3 tablespoons. Combine whites, cream and fruit mixture. If you have an icecream machine use according to instructions. I just put it in a container in the freezer and stir it up every hour until set. 
RAW EGG WARNING: If you're pregnant or for any other reason worried about listeria, you can heat up the fruit mixture gently until it thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon, then cool and proceed with final steps. Can't do anything about heat treating the whites though. The raw egg method is no more hazardous than chocolate mousse made with raw eggs, but use your own judgement as to whether you feel safe with this recipe (or ask a doctor).

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