No, those aren't lemons, and the only lemonade we made was the kind you make when life hands you lemons. Last Thursday one of my neighbors showed up on my doorstep with a case of little green plums. It seems that her sister's plum tree had so many plums on it that it fell over! They had an absolute GLUT of them. So she brought me a few... eight and a half kilos of plums, to be exact. (18.7 pounds) That's a lot of plums when they're not much bigger than an large cherry!
Oh, my. I love plums, especially these little ones. Normally I'd be thinking about clafouti, pies, tarts.On my diet, though, I can't eat fruit right now. None. Not one little tiny plum, let alone 8 ½ kilos of them. What to do?
I decided to make plum jam. After washing them, I had to pit the little lovelies. I started out with a knife. It took a long time to do each one, because the flesh really sticks to the pit. Then I reached for my trusty cherry pitter, and found that the plums just fit in it. Yessss! One quick squeeze and the pit was removed. Again. Again. Each plum weighed between 7 and 9 grams. That means that in 8 ½ kilos there are about 1062 plums. Again. Again. Again...
I took out all my jars and sterilized them. I cooked the plums in batches of about 1/5 kilos. I make jam the way I cook most things, au pif. That means that as far as ingredients go I make it up as I go along. The problem was that I couldn't taste the jam. We don't like jam that's too sweet—we want to taste the fruit and not the sugar. In the end I asked Dan to taste it for me, and we found the right balance. The jam bubbled away and the jars got filled and the kitchen got incredibly sticky. Everywhere.
For the record, here's the recipe: 1.5 kilos of pitted plums, 500 g sugar with extra pectin, juice of one lemon. Mix together, bring to a boil slowly, boil till it runs off a wooden spoon in a ribbon (about 5 minutes), fill jars, process as you like. One of my lemons was so lovely that I chopped the peel up and put it in that batch too.
I have no idea how much my neighbor made. Or her sister. But in the end I had 19 jars of it. Small jars, big jars, French canning jars. All my jars got used. My pantry is full of plum jam. I can't wait to taste it. I figure I'll be able to taste it in about 5 or 6 weeks. I'll let you know how it tastes.
For the record, plum juice makes your fingernails brown.
Did I tell you that I love where I live?
Diet update: 10.5 kilos / 23 pounds so far...