Sunday, August 24, 2008
We have 2 plum trees at our place in Healdsburg. My wife, myself, and our friend Jean spent a lot of time thinning the tree back in May in order to keep the branches from being overloaded. I was worried that the branches might break, and reading up on this I found that thinning also produces better fruit. It's true. We produced 100's of very delicious plums for consumption by the local blue jays and racoons. I got to try a few and they were great.
We have moved to a new rental in San Francisco, and it turns out there is a plum tree in the back. I went out to take a look, and a lot of fruit was on the ground but not from varmints, just from the fruit getting overripe and falling off. I quickly gathered up all the plums determined to not lose this crop. This aligns with some recent theory on my part that I want to learn how to feed myself from crops we can produce ourselves and to get local products.
These plums were not nearly as good as the Santa Rosa plums from Healdsburg, and they were not going to have much shelf life. What to do? I decided to teach myself some skills from the good old days and make some Plum Jam. Turns out to be pretty simple, dice the fruit, add pectin (made from apples and makes the jam gelatinous) and sugar, boil, and put in sterilized jars. We acquired the pectin, Organic Carbon Free Sugar (that's what the package said anyway. Probably not local however...), and some Ball Jars. Had to be Ball - my dad used to work for Ball.
My dad also used to have a lot of very prolific fruit trees. My mother filled a lot of Ball Jars with said fruit, so this had a very nostalgic impact on me. Not too much work, but we only ended up with 5 jars of plum jam, probably saving zero (negative) dollars but reducing the waste of throwing out the plums. And we'll get some goodwill from giving out a few precious jars.
Posted by murphstahoe at 12:11 PM