Jul 19, 2008

What would you do with 7 gallons of plums?

I spent the whole day dealing with plums. It's one of those weird chores that falls to me: Deal with the gallons of plums that spew from the two over producing, exceedingly tall, unclimbable trees in our back yard. It's obvious that no one tended these trees for at least a decade before we gained access to them two years ago. Long skinny branches shoot way up into the sky before cascading over in branchlettes that shade the more manageable pear and apple trees. Dark purple plums hang over 2/3rds of the arable yard. They're about the size of a gumball out of a machine. Despite their individual size, these trees drop such a bounty that other plants are covered or the ground becomes wine if the trees aren't harvested.

Yeah, I'm not a huge fan of the plum trees. I hack into them every chance I get, limbing them back as far as my arm can stand to saw. It's nice to wait until the harvest for major limbing so that I can get the plums off higher limbs that I'm removing. And that's what I spent my morning and early afternoon doing, harvesting and limbing ONE of the two trees. I gathered one gallon of fallen fruit. Then I climbed a bit for three gallons. Then I limbed for an additional three gallons.

Then I had seven gallons of mostly ripe plums to contend with. That's too many smoothies to wrap my head around so I started canning and baking. I started with a low sugar jam recipe, simmering to the right in the photograph. It was a bit tart when I poured it into the jars, unfortunately, but I got rid of about a half a gallon of plums. I followed that with spiced plum bread, which is tucked away in the oven. That was only about a pint of plums, but that stuff tasted great even when it went into the oven. On the left burner you see a plum based conserve with orange, lemon, raisins, and enough sugar to induce mania. This took about a gallon of plums. Which in the end means I used a little under two of the seven gallons of plums.

I've called some friends, including fellow compacter, John Perry, who also wants to do some canning. And I want to drop some off at the fruits of the hill stand outside of Heartfelt on Cortland. That's a free spot for putting out excess in yard grown produce. It's just taking off and I hope more folks take part (I see so many lemon and lime trees unharvested around here). I'm going to take both ripe plums and either the conserve or the jam down to Access Cafe's donation based brunch tomorrow. I have to get rid of the bread or I'm going to eat it all. Since it's not vegan I can't take it to the cafe, but I can take it to Station 40.
I'm not sure what I'll do with the rest of the plums. If you're local and you want to try one of these recipes, they're yours!!! I even have some extra mason jars, seals, and lids. I'm moving and if they can be used, there's no sense in storing them.

So I'm pretty happy with myself today. My housemate, on the other hand, is probably going to have a small, feathery duck later tonight when he gets home from work. We've got two potential subletters coming to see my room tomorrow and I said I'd clean up a bit. I actually made one hell of a mess instead. But plums wait for no woman. It was today or never in my mind. I've really cleaned up my mess quite well, but I didn't clean up any outstanding messes from before the plum fiesta... Guess I'm getting up early tomorrow. Whatever, I'll put on some coffee and settle into some jam before I get moving on the cleaning.

1 comment:

jennconspiracy said...

I confess - the plum posting attracted me and then I saw your note about extra mason jars... but haven't read far enough to determine if you have moved already. If you still have the jars, I'd love to take them off your hands. I'm going to be canning up a lot more stuff.

Check out my blog - if you are moving to the east bay, I can let you dry some stuff in my new solar dehydrator. :)