Monday, July 14, 2014

Plum Crazy

So here I go with the first of several posts about sand plums. First, just what is a sand plum?  It is a small,cherry-sized plum that grows wild (ditches are a good place to find them) all over Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, and many other places. They are incredibly tart, even when ripe. Because of that you can pick them in just about any stage of ripeness for use in these eecipes. When fully ripe they are a derp but bright red. The more ripe plums you have the darker red your juice willl be. 

Jelly, jam, and butter seem to be the only things people make with the plums. Since they are so small it is much easier to just make juice and then turn that into jelly and then mash them througj a strainer to get the pulp fpr butter. Here is how you make the juice:

Wash and stem your plums. If you find worm holes you can cut them out or just toss them. They can be quite common or you may only find a few. For every pound iof plums you have add 3/4 cup of water to a large stock pot. Add the plums and bring to a boil. They will boil over so have a large pot and keep an eye on it. Once to a boil let simmer for about 20 minutes. You can remove the juice in a couple of different ways. 1) Line a strainer with cheese cloth or pour through a jelly bag. (This is only important if you want very clear jelly.). 2) don't line the strainer.  3) press a ladle into the plums and juice and then pour that through the strainer.  Once most of the juice is poured off, you can process it in a boiling water bath (10 minutes for pints and 15 for quarts). I am goin to assume that you know how to do that part.  At this time you can also make jelly. Use your favorite plum recipe. It will be tart but it is delicious. 

Now, what about all those seeds and pulp in your strainer?  Working with just a couple of cups at a time, take a potato masher and mash the pulp throu the strainer into a bowl. Then you can freeze it, turn it into butter, or make fruit leather.
seeds and pulp

What if you want a cobbler or crisp?  Well, be ready to do a lot of pitting. These little suckers can be hard to pit. If too ripe they just smash through the pitter, a little under ripe and you will need a large green super hero to help you out. It will take about 3 1/2 pounds of plums to get 2 pounds of pitted plums for an 8-9 inch cobbler or crisp. 

Over the next few posts I will put up some recipes that I have experimented with. Hope you like them. 

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