17 December 2007

Plum Your Thoughts

| che
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I’ve got some sort of plum tree in the back yard (small red plums, taste a bit sour) which has just gone nuts with all the rain we’ve had. The branches are just about touching the ground due to all the fruit they have dragging them down. I’ve cut away the branches that were getting in the way of the hills hoist and collected a bucket of plums just from those branches. So does anyone have any good simple recipes for plums (jams, chutney, brandy etc) that you can let us know about. I’m after something that I can do in bulk without too much hassle, and without taking out the stones preferably.

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Ingeegoodbee9:55 pm 17 Dec 07

… or crack the pips open to get the middle bit out, that seems to release more of the pectin that is the setting agent.

Yep – I’d do jam like that too. Except I’d just leave the skins and stones in and get rid of the stones as I ate it. And I put in some lemon pips. I thought it helped it to set, but maybe it is to retain the colour…

If you like really thick jam you can buy ‘jam setter’ powder in woolies.

I think we’d all agree to a BBQ at Che’s place to taste-test his plum marinade.

Ingeegoodbee3:37 pm 17 Dec 07

CharlieBell has it nailed for the plumb jam – I’ve been told to heat the sugar in an iron pot in the oven before adding it to the fruit – no idea what it does in the cooking process but there does seem to be an improved favour, alos you can add a little lemon juice to keep the colour nice and bright.

Simple Plum jam recipe.

Use a big saucepan so that you don’t fill it more than about half way – otherwise it splashes a lot. Weigh your fruit – you need the same weight of sugar as fruit. If the fruit is small and the stones make up a lot of the weight, you might use a bit less sugar (80% or 90% of the weight of the fruit). Avoid rotten fruit and insects, but otherwise throw in the lot – don’t bother removing the stones. Add a small amount of water (half a cup) to stop the fruit sticking, bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes to make the fruit soft. Mash it a bit to break the skins, add the sugar, turn the heat up to high and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Boil at a moderate heat – about half way on the heat setting) for about 45 minutes until the jam reaches the “setting point”. No need to stir. What you are doing is boiling off water until the sugar/pectin concentrations are right for the jam to set. While it’s boiling you can use a metal sieve or spoon with holes or slots to skim off the skins and remove the stones. Then, pour into clean, hot jars (use hot tap water) and screw on the caps straight away while the jam is still hot. Be careful, boiling jam is hotter than boiling water.

The “setting point” is the only trick. Best way is to put a saucer in the freezer before you start, then when you think the jam is ready, put about a teaspoon on to the cold saucer and it should cool in a minute or so and have a jam consistency. If it’s too runny, cook it a bit longer.

la mente torbida1:51 pm 17 Dec 07

Preventing plum sauce or any other marinade from wrecking your bbq….use a sheet of baking paper…my bbq is all grill and the baking paper doesn’t ignite (although it may char). This way the marinade adheres to the food and not the bbq. When finished, simply scrunch up the paper and put in the bin.

Ahh, the little-known third use for bourbon… Instant flame…

(the second being my secret ingredient in Mælinar’s world famous BBQ Plum Pork Ribs marinade)

Hey Maelinar, I find that the best way to remove caramelised plum sauce is to actually set fire to the barbie after the ribs have been cooked.

Assuming you have volcanic rocks under the grate, I find it best just to pump the heat up to the max, get it really hot and drizzle a little oil on the rocks.

The whole thing catches fire and burns off the carbonised gunk, leaving a silvery powder that is easily wiped away.

This probably wouldn’t work without the rocks underneath to act as a wick to retain the oil, however.

And for a few minutes there’s also always a risk one of your neighbours will call the fire brigade.

First of all – Respeckt the Che !

For plums I can’t go past halving them and boiling them to buggery with a little sugar and water – strain to remove pips and skins.

The resultant plum base is perfect baste for plum flavoured BBQ pork ribs. Does no favours for your BBQ (think caremalised uber-sticky), but your stomach will consider you a god.

n.b. as the sugar is a preservative agent it’ll keep for a few months.

Holden Caulfield12:30 pm 17 Dec 07

Isn’t it basically 1 part fruit to 1 part sugar?!

I’ll ask Mrs Caulfield and see what she says.

I am in a similar situation, I have two plum trees growing at dad’s place that I need to routinely go and save the tree from being too heavy with fruit.
Its ripening too fast to eat & get creative with (I am a single man, my creativity for and willingness to eat a neverending stream of fruit pies without gain is limited), so I have had to start giving away fruit at work.

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