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An Embarrassment of Green Plums


Panaderia Canadiense
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Hi folks! I have a Reina Claudia variety greengage plum tree in my front yard, which for the past two years has struggled to give me even a pound of fruit in a year. Severe pruning and a particularly wet spring this year have given me a more than bumper crop - the tree is so loaded that it's in danger of branches breaking. I harvested about 15 lbs of ripe and semiripe plums today (they literally fell out of the tree into my hands), and it appears that I'll be able to do this daily for about a month before the tree is empty.

Now, I'm completely familiar and comfy with the various uses for Mirabel, Damask, and Damson type plums (red to black, which are my other plum trees), but I'm at a loss with the Reina Claudias. What should I be doing with them? I can only eat so many out of hand before I get completely sick of them, and I've been giving big bags to the neighbours since they started to ripen about two weeks ago.

Help!!!

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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Sorry, I don't have a recipe, I usually just improvise by making a less solid jam (less pectin) and adding spices, chopped onion, vinegar, grated ginger, and some raisins or other dry fruit. Try a recipe for mango chutney and just be aware that your plums have a little more moisture in them.

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They do make great jam (although I think vanilla kind of overwhelms the scent of the plums)!

Pruning some of the blossoming branches and using them decoratively helps mitigate the plum tsunami (my boyfriend's mother had the same problem with her tree, including the cracking branches, so we also ended up aggressively thinning the unripe plums, which I thought might be interesting pickled).

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Mjx - I'm well past having blossoms, unfortunately, but if it does this next year I'll definitely take that advice.

Nikki - now I know exactly what I'm doing with the small ones. I think I neglected to mention upthread, but about 90% of the plums I'm harvesting are the size of my fist more or less, which is huge for a plum here.

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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A friend gave me a variety of homemade preserves as a holiday gift. Included was a jar labeled "Green Plum Tkemali"

I've never heard of Tkemali, so did a quick search--it's a common condiment from the republic of Georgia made from sour (unripe) red or green plums. A taste confirmed the description: it's savory-sweet-sour, rich with spices, a bit of heat. Unusual and very good.

I don't have a recipe to recommend, but a search yielded many. A couple that look representative:

http://www.notesandrecipes.com/2010/03/tkemali-sour-plum-sauce.html

http://www.food.com/recipe/sour-plum-sauce-tkemali-227279


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Not sure how your freezer space is, and also think maybe yours are dead ripe, but Margaret Roach talks about freezing peaches on her blog here. The technique seems quite transferable to your bounty. When I have such a surplus, I also employ two simple methods. One is to simply freeze the fruit "as is" - the texture will not be good but I just toss them into roasts, mash into marinades, and toss them into my iced tea pitcher. The second is similar except that I cook the fruit for just a bit and then freeze, employing it in quick chutneys and dishes where I want a hint of fruit and texture or shape are not critical. Can we see a picture of your beauties?

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Heidi - unfortunately my camera went "blooey" on New Year's day, and will be in the shop until the 25th. I might have some photos of the bounty from Christmas, though, which was when we started to harvest the Reinas.

I don't have nearly enough freezer space to do the whole frozen slices thing, unfortunately. However I have put up two jars of Umeshu, and I'll be adding some of the plums to my chutney tomorrow when I get my case of mangoes. I've been juicing them like crazy, and I gave a bunch away at the Epiphany parade as well. :biggrin:

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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Well, thanks to the loan of a camera (thank you Yomara!) I can now show you what I've been dealing with.

For comparison's sake, what's in my hand in this photo is a standard Granny Smith apple (on the left) and an average green plum from this year's harvest (on the right). The bowl underneath my hand is a 4.5L one and it's heaped full past the brim. Of course, some of what's in that bowl are Mirabel plums, which I do know how to deal with. There are still 30-50 lbs of Reinas on the tree.

ApplePlum.jpg

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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some other ideas, in case the above hasn't put in a sufficient dent in your bounty

sorbet

ice cream/gelato

candied plums -- lovely in preparations where you would normally use candied citrus

plum liqueur or cordial -- but since I am not a major drinker, I don't know how utilitarian this suggestion is

Chez Pim has a recipe for Reine Claude plum and vanilla jam, and I see your plums are a Reina Claudia cultivar so maybe that could work: http://chezpim.com/bake/reine-claude-gr

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Can you not can them in syrup? What about plum liqueur? I dont deal with green plums often but have a wonderful chutney with ginger and sultanas if you would like. I would cook some down , vacuum pack and freeze for crumbles/muffins etc. Can you onsell at a market or have someone do it on your behalf?

They sure do look ginormous!! And gorgeous. :)

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some other ideas, in case the above hasn't put in a sufficient dent in your bounty

sorbet

ice cream/gelato

candied plums -- lovely in preparations where you would normally use candied citrus

plum liqueur or cordial -- but since I am not a major drinker, I don't know how utilitarian this suggestion is

Chez Pim has a recipe for Reine Claude plum and vanilla jam, and I see your plums are a Reina Claudia cultivar so maybe that could work: http://chezpim.com/bake/reine-claude-gr

Great suggestions, but here's something about Reina Claudias when used in frozen concoctions. In order to make them any way palatable you have to sugar them heavily, and in the end you lose the delicate plum flavour that makes them so pleasant. For the same reason, I'm loathe to can them in syrup or dry candy them (both things I do with the Mirabel and Dorado Ambato, which are just starting to ripen).

I have several jars of them up in a nice rice wine with sugar for Umeshu (green plums extracted into wine with sugar), and I generally think more of Mirabel than Reina Claudia when thinking cordials - the higher tannins in the darker plums makes the fermentation much easier.

I will, however, be definitely looking at the jam!

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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