Sunday, 21 August 2011

Glorious Gluts

I'm starting to panic a bit if I'm honest, I think I've got to admit defeat with the patty pan mountain (maybe one more batch of piccalililili though) the tomatoes are coming on stream so I need to start making ketchup and the wild fruit is just ripening up too. Damsons looking readyish, the pear tree is groaning, we visited our old chum the wild plum tree yesterday and came home with 5kilos of plums, oh yes, and we still have about 5 kilos of Mirabelle plums in the freezer waiting to be processed.

I have a soft spot for this tree as it was one of our first big foraging finds, back in the day when we were still amazed at all the free fruit hanging around being ignored by the general populace. I don't know what sort of plum it is, it's not a damson because the fruit is sweeter and not so dark purple, they're smaller than Victoria plums but a similar colour.

Each year it's a battle to outwit the grubs (wasps?) as when the plums are fully ripe it can be virtually guaranteed that a small wiggly worm is in there, pooing for all it's worth, leaving a tell tale droplet of crystalised plum juice sitting on the softly bloomed surface. My solution is two-fold, early in the season I pick the plums slightly under-ripe (I'm so well acquainted with this tree by now I can tell the exact ripeness by the colour of the skin) The plums which are still green now will ripen later in the season and will usually escape the attentions of the wasps who have done whatever it is that wasps do in the winter (sleep/die/emigrate - who knows) by the time they're ripe, although whether they have escaped the attention of other foragers is another thing, there was already the familiar trampled ring of disappointment around the tree yesterday.

So what to do with them? Jam maybe, for the increased pectin in the under-ripe plums, or a plum cheese, nice and sharp or maybe bottled with red wine and spices. Whatever I end up doing I'd better get on with it quick as there's more fruit coming down the conveyor belt!

By the way - Many apologies for the blog silence over the past week, I've had my Mum to stay and we've been busy either taking the children out on day trips or Adam and I have been making the most of having a babysitter in the house and having a social life for once. All back to normal now though.


  1. I am having trouble deciding what to do with the plume this year too..that's why I thought I might give your cordial a go....My plums come off my Mum's tree always has a really good harvest!!

  2. Good luck, hope it works out for you!

  3. I'm so envious of your wild plum harvest - that's one thing I haven't managed to find around here - yet. The plum cheese sounds a great idea - we made plenty of damson cheese last year with various flavourings. At least the damsons and sloes are looking really good locally and there's not much risk of a ring of disappointment - foraging isn't a very Surrey thing to do I'm pleased to say.

  4. We're 'enjoying' a glut of Plums too :)

  5. Glut of bullace in our Garden

  6. I made some plum's not very 'syrupy' but it tastes good and I have put it into jars as I had no bottles.....not sure how I will use it all up yet but I definitely will!!