Monday, 29 August 2011

Have you seen my plums?

I have always found the idea of making jams, chutneys and the like a bit daunting.  My first thought is that it's going to be way too difficult and wayyyyy too time consuming.  And then there's the whole preserving process.  Who needs it?!  It just sounds like too much work.  Especially when there are so many lovely jams and chutneys in the supermarket for just a couple of quid.  So last weekend, when we left my Aunt and Uncle's house with a bag full of plums, I was a bit unsure of what to do with them.  Also, I had been visiting them for 4 years and had never noticed the big plum tree in the backyard.  Hmm...

Once home, on the advice of my mother, who had been visiting for a few weeks, I soaked them to get any creepy crawlies out.  I'm pretty sure it worked - one little wormy came out.  So either it worked or his little wormy friends were still trapped in the flood.  Extra protein I guess, but to be on the safe side (and the not grossed out side) I sliced them before eating them.  I began by putting 2 or 3 in W's lunch everyday but at that rate they'd be going bad before we finished them.  Although that wouldn't be the end of the world since the tree wasn't exactly lacking in the fruit department (the branches were so heavy with plums that they were nearly touching the ground) I would still hate to waste them.  It was a friends Facebook status that inspired my Saturday afternoon plum fun...hmmm not sure that sounds right.  She had made everything under the sun from plums in an attempt to help her friend unload the fruit from their plum tree - crumbles, flans, a plum charlotte, chutney and plum ketchup which had definitely peaked my interest.  I didn't want to make anything on the dessert front because I knew I'd be the one eating it all since W doesn't have quite the sweet tooth that I do.  And any type of jam or chutney still seemed beyond the realms of my capabilities.  Then I remembered this :

Please excuse the blurry pic, my little Fuji isn't exactly all that and a bag of chips.  Though most of the mistakes are probably due to user error.  Anyway, this is a delicious peach salsa I made last summer while visiting my Aunt and her family near Windsor Ontario.  I followed a recipe she had and it didn't hurt that we used some of the best peaches known to man, grown pretty much down the street from where she lived.  Using this as a reference I got to work on my plum salsa:

1 cup of diced plums
1/2 cup of diced tomatoes
1 small red onion, diced
1 finely chopped red chili
juice from half a lime
chopped coriander to taste
stir all of the ingredients together and serve with nacho chips or toasted pita bread

It was the perfect Saturday evening appetiser with a glass of red wine.

Now I don't know if it was the liquid confidence or if  I was just getting on a plum roll but I felt ready for a small battle on the chutney front.  After a quick google to see what the necessary ingredients are in a chutney I gave it a whirl.  Oh and it's vinegar and sugar - I went with about 1/2 cup of vinegar and 1/4 cup of brown sugar.  I also added the juice from the other half of the lime.  I brought that to a boil and tossed in my diced plums (about 8 small ones), a couple pears and small red onion.  I sprinkled some cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger (about a tsp of each) and let it all simmer for about 30-40 mins - until the liquid had reduced, the fruit was soft and mushy (I gave it a couple mashes with a potato masher too) and it was nice and thick.  I let it cool and spooned it into a glass jar.  Perfect midnight snack with cheese and crackers and the last of the wine!  YUM!

It wasn't that hard after all.  Some recipes I found did seem quite complicated but it would be well worth the effort if you were making a big batch of the stuff.  I have since learned that a friend of mine has a garden full of berries and other good stuff and that there's plenty to go around.  A google search of "preserving" might be on the horizon.

Does anyone do any preserving?  Do you enjoy it?  Am I making a big deal from nothing and should I just get on with it?

No comments:

Post a Comment