I am besotted with plums, as I think I have mentioned before. When I become unexpectly wealthy, and acquire a big garden with a little house attached to it, there will be quite a variety of plum trees in the garden. There are going to be be italian prune plums, like the big, overgrown tree behind my childhood home, damsons and also mirabelles, greengages and Nancy plums. There are going to be Santa Rosa plums and my favorite, nameless yellow plums, which I discovered only last year. While I may never see my Dream Garden of Stone Fruits (there may be cherries, white and yellow peaches and nectarines, too, and probably apricots), at the risk of boring you, and everyone else in my life, to tears, my small batch preserving obsession remains, as ever, The Plum.
I have made several kinds of plum preserves and sauces in the past, and there will be links to those recipes, some of which I will be making again this year, as well as new ones, as I try them. I have this (no doubt demented) ambition to make as many different kinds of sweet and savory plum preserves and sauces as I can, from as many different kinds of plums as I can get my hands on. I am not sure if I have any real purpose here, beyond an unreasonable love of The Plum (extending to its dried epitome, the prune) and a generally compulsive nature. You are invited along for the ride, and those who live nearby (Western PA) are begged to alert me, when the season arrives, to the availability of various different kinds of plums and pluots.
It is , of course, quite a time yet until the local plums are available in late summer. I recently made a batch of tkemali, and a few jars of sweet plum preserves from some red Chilean supermarket plums with nice yellow innards. The tkemali followed the original recipe I used, which you can find following the link above. The preserve is a variation of the black plum stuff I made with the redfox. I did not include the white wine, but did add a 7oz. jar of homemade apple pectin, the vanilla beans, lemon juice, and some ground pepper, with 3 lbs of the plums. I think it is very, very good, immodest though it is to say so. I have tried, unsuccessfully, to show you how pretty this jam looks- like red stained glass, with jewel-like cubes of deeper red. This recipe produced one full wide mouth 8 oz. Ball jar, one partly full Ball jar for refrigerating and early sampling, and two half-liter Quattro Stagnoni jars.
The last are these very cute (IMO) Italian jars with one-piece sealable lids. They have them at Target, and, via various internet vendors in more varied sizes. Replacement lids are also sold. They work pretty much like a ball jar-the lids have interior bands which seal to the jar rims when hot, and a vacuum is formed- it's just that they (the lids) are in one piece, rather than 2 parts. I love the chubby shape, and they do hold a slightly greedier portion of your preserves, without going whole-hog for a pint. They are a bit more expensive than ball jars; I do wish more people would remember to hand over the old jars when they are done eating their presents-unless, of course, they are going to reuse them themselves. On the other hand, though, it is sort of nice to have an excuse to buy appealing new ones, anyhow.
BTW, I am looking for some tall sealable jars with the idea of making some asparagus pickles. Anyone know where I might find such a thing?