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Plum Crazy

Monday. And I’m on three weeks of vacation! 😄  Where to start this day …

imageThe grandpups were coming to spend the day with us while Jess & Nigel ran town errands.  A day in the kitchen would be perfect – keeping Nikita and the chickens separated always makes everyone’s day easier!

The jumbo zucchini was still waiting on the counter. And I’d dried some figs in the oven last night to make fig newtons, so that was on the list. However, when one is presented with 20 lbs of freshly picked fruit it’s safe to say the plan for the day should really focus on “today’s secret ingredient – PLUMS!”.

imageJessie brought us big bowls full of gorgeous little wild plums that she picked from her in-laws’ tree, with the instruction to use as many as I could. These are the small plums, roughly the size of a cherry. And they were sweet – yum!

Right then, what to do with plums. Well, eat several fresh while standing around the kitchen deciding what to make was a good start. Jam certainly. I could also get the dehydrator fired up again. And canning some in an alcohol might be nice. Two years ago I made Bourbon Peaches and they were amazing! (Note to self – make more of those this year) What about a plum cake?

imageThe plan was, I’d start pitting plums and fill the dehydrator, while Steve surfed for recipes for a cake using fresh plums and for brandy plums. This is his favourite job, next to the  sampling!

OK, 20 LBS IS A LOT OF PLUMS WHEN YOU START PITTING! Especially if they are the mini ones!

Eventually, after what seemed like hours of halving and pitting, I filled the drier with the little plums. Once dried though, I decided to store them in the freezer – I wasn’t confident they were fully dry and I didn’t want them to mould. Dried like this I plan to add them to baking – like raisins or cranberries.

plum cake
photo by TasteofHome.com

Next, on to the plum cake. Steve found a recipe from Tasteofhome.com for a Viennese Plum Cake.

We liked the sound of this recipe and it certainly didn’t disappoint.  I split it between two loaf pans so I could send one home with Jess. Half the recipe was a perfect size for us.

After the cake, I made a batch of plum jam. The jam was fast and helped to use up more of the plums! And I didn’t have to care if they were cut evenly in half. :)  It held the pretty red colour of these plums with a nice little tang.

On to the next. Steve’s search for a brandy plum found this site. Tall Clover Farm. I loved the recipe as soon as Steve read it out loud – Spiced Brandy Plums! Oh I may have to make ice cream soon! I will definitely return to this site soon and explore if further – I love his style of recipes. Simple and honest. In fact, his path in life looks vaguely familiar 😉

WOW. We’re done!

20 lbs of plums = a bag of dried plums for baking, 2 plum cakes, 15 small pots of jam, and 10 jars of Brandy Plums, and one “plum worn out” Nanette!

I still didn’t get the fig newtons made.