Saturday, 25 July 2009

Plum Job

Another lovely day today. We took a picnic to Wortham Ling, I made a salad from the garden (lollo rosso, pea shoots, radishes, tomatoes and carrot) along with Nice Ham, Nice Cheese and Nice Bread. Wild apples and plums grow on the Ling which frequently add to our picnics there but they're not ready to eat just yet. Once we'd eaten we went for a walk with the intention of spotting new foraging grounds. We had mixed results. I found a damson shrub, damsons are really common and I'm told they're easy to find but I've not actually come across any as yet so I was delighted to finally find one. The delight was short lived though as it was extraordinarily low in fruit, I'd guess there were only about 20 damsons on the whole shrub, goodness knows why but a bit of a shame nonetheless.

I also thought I found a service tree and some puffball mushrooms but I was wrong on both counts so it's a good job we didn't pick any!

The big success of the day were the cherry plums I spotted on Thursday. Adam was duly dispatched this afternoon to pick some. He came home triumphant with, I'd guess, about 3 or 4 kilos of fruit. This is the first time we've picked cherry plums and I'm hugely impressed with them. First thing I noticed was the smell, sweet and honeyed like peaches or apricots, divine. They're sweet enough to eat as they are which is unusual for a wild plum and makes me wonder whether they're a cross breed or garden escapee. If anyone has any experience of cherry plums I'd be interested to hear how sweet you found them.

Next thing is figuring out what to do with them! Plum Cordial for Willow is on the cards, probably jam, maybe chutney. I'm pondering the possibility of preserving some in alcohol, this method is recommended for fruit like peaches and apricots so I imagine it would work with cherry plums too. Whatever I decide I'll post the recipe, can't wait to get experimenting!

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