The Plum Tree
On the edge of the drive at my parent’s house is a Victoria Plum tree. Normally inconspicuous, this year we were forced to negotiate our way past the low hanging branches which were heavy with a bumper crop.
The plums were harvested and distributed to the interested parties. It is the first time that I have been trusted with an allowance from the tree which I am putting down to my parents’ growing faith in me (rather than the fact that they were bored of stewing the plums!).
I was surprised by the variety of plum recipes that I found in amongst my cookbooks. I finally settled on:
- Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s ‘Plum Jampote, with Hot and Sour Dipping Sauce By-Product’ from The River Cottage Year; and,
- Elizabeth David’s ‘Plums Preserved in Brandy’ from French Provincial Cooking.
The recipes were reasonably simple but I did find the paraphernalia that goes along with preserving bottles and jars a little difficult to manage; it is definitely a skill that I am going to have to work on. I loved hearing the pop of the lids on the jars as the mixture cooled & a vacuum was formed.
The results were very satisfying. As the name suggests the Jampote is somewhere between a jam and a compote and it can be used for any number of things but I’ve been enjoying it as a morning ‘pick-me-up’ served with Greek yoghurt or porridge.
My attempt at the hot and sour sauce came out as a thin, vinegary syrup. I am not sure if this is what was intended but I love it and I am really looking forward to dipping into the sauce at our next Dim Sum Sunday (an occasional treat that my husband & I enjoy).
The Plums in Brandy take a little while to mature so I’ve put them into attractive jars and if the results are any good I will add them to people’s Christmas hampers. I’ve read that they are best served with the syrup drizzled over the top, alongside a dollop of thick cream & a small sweet biscuit or cake.
The upshot of this experience is that I wish that we could harvest plums all year round.
Written by Faye