Although most of the fruit trees on the farm are underperforming this year, we still managed to get quite a few Italian Plums off our two trees in the Neutral Zone. We also discovered that we have several more plum trees in the new hill pasture off the NZ… but we didn’t harvest from them this year because POISON OAK.
Although I made several products with these plums last year, the thing we all devoured was the simple deydrated prunes (I think they’re called Dried Plums now, actually – prunes have bad press). They were delicious! So this year I used the less exciting japanese plums (which aren’t freestone and are a pain to pit) to make preserves, and turned most of our italian plums into…
TWO GALLONS of dried plums.
I also played with the FoodSaver a bit, and made several packages of frozen pitted plums to use in baked goods over the winter. Thank heavens we bought a new freezer this month… we were seriously running out of room!
We have a few Italian Plum trees on our property, but for whatever reason they are not producing much, and they seem to be far behind the general season. Our fantastic neighbors just to the north, however, have several plum trees that were laden this year, and they offered us a harvest. They may not have known what they were getting into, though… when we go fruit picking in this family, we take the whole tree!
The photo above is just a fraction of what we picked… so many plums!! Thanks, Deb and Zo!
We made rhubarb plum jam and anise-plum jam the first round. For the second round, I followed a recipe for Asian Plum BBQ Sauce that sounded reminicient of the BBQ sauce I’ve always made and loved (handed down from my godfather, years ago). The pre-canning version tasted pretty good… looking forward to trying it after the flavors have melded a bit more on the shelf.
In addition to the BBQ sauce, I also churned out more anice flavored jam (we didn’t get much the first time, and it was a hit!), and experimented with shiso flavored jam. The shiso didn’t impart as much flavor as I was hoping… but maybe after a few months in the jar it’ll taste more impressive.
Here’s to a happy pantry!