Monday, August 11, 2014

Wild Cherry-Plums Season: time to cook and freeze some.

Cherry-Plums In Season

Sweet Treat on Local Trees (Somerset, UK)

The summer fruit harvest continues.  Soon after my recent blog about preparing the wild blackberries harvested this year, the (apparently) wild plum trees in the area really started to hit their peak for ripening fruit. 

Fresh Cherry-Plums (halved / pitted)

I suspect these trees grew on their own (wild) since they are growing immediately along a public bike path that is carved through some varied, and otherwise rough, terrain.  As the plums were littering the paved bike trail and being turned to puree by passing bikes, I figured I might as well collect some and puree them myself at home.  So, now it is time to enjoy these fresh plums and cook some up for freezing in a very similar manner to how I prepared my blackberries for longer-term storage.

There are so many different varieties and cultivars of plums that I am not 100% sure which type of plum(s) we are harvesting — I believe these plums are all "cherry plums" of some sort.  These wild plums have been nearly perfect even without any pesticides or other treatments applied to them.  We have encountered only 2 wormy ones out of a couple thousand plums so far.

The cherry plums coloration is quite similar to some Victoria plums, but those tend to get much larger.  Whereas these plums are all 2-3 cm (an inch or so) in diameter with a very small pit, the Victorias (from what I have read) get as big as 5-6 centimeters in diameter, much more like a normal commercial plum you would see at the grocery store. 

We also have what I believe are Mirabelle plums growing wild nearby, though they were not fully ripe yet — I plan to harvest some of those in a couple more weeks. If you want to see the wide range of plums and related fruits available, check out the incredible variety of Plums, Gages, and Damsons that are offered for sale on fruit-tree dealer sites like Pomona Fruits and Orange Pippin Fruit Trees

Recipe : Simple Cooking and Freezing Process

Much like my blackberry cooking process, this plum-preparation cannot get much simpler.  I just halved the plums, pitted them, and tossed them in my trusty large stainless steel 6-quart pot with perhaps 1/2 cup of water and brought them to a boil.  After that, I reduced to a simmer and stirred every so often for an hour or so until the puree / sauce was thickened to desired state.   After that, I waited until the sauce cooled down and then froze portions of it for later use while keeping about 1/2 of the sauce in the fridge for use in my morning yogurt over the coming week (with a bit of honey and vanilla added). 
Fresh Plums : in the pot, ready to cook down

Cherry Plums (after cooking down into a puree)
I sure hope these plums return in full force next year!  I am definitely a fan of fresh plums and naturally-occurring gluten-free treats that I can use in my own recipes.  I will definitely use these in yogurt, but I also think they are going to be quite nice in my cakes, pies, and other dessert recipes (whether as a sauce / topping or whether directly in the baked goods).  Yummy!

Continue to read this Gluten-Free Blog for all sorts of gluten-free recipes, product-reviews, and related information. In addition, visit my Gluten-Free Recipes Site where many of the recipes I have featured on this blog are available.

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