My friend Megan’s new house is fantastic. Great location, beautiful old Victorian and former owners who really cared and kept it in good shape. She also has a good-sized yard with a small garden, a chicken coop, and several fruit trees. I mentioned the lemon tree already but it was the plum tree that reinvigorated my joy of canning.
Her plum tree is a variety I’d never heard of called the cherry-plum, so named because its fruits are small and look more like cherries than plums. The flavor is all plum, however. The knowledge gods over at Wikipedia tell me this tree is often used for ornamental purposes, but who wants to waste all that good fruit?
One sunny Sunday I went over and we picked as many of the fruits as we could reach, working out to two heaping bags of these little guys.
Our first project was jam. As the blogger at Fancy Food correctly noted, finding a recipe was kind of difficult because these trees don’t apparently grow very many places. Fortunately for me, she did much of the work in trying out recipes to find the right one, because I was growing frustrated by only finding recipes that were for cherry-plum jam, not cherry plum.
Because these fruits are small, pitting them is kind of a pain in the ass. I thought we could just cut them in half, cook them and then push the mixture through cheesecloth to get out the pits and the tougher skins. In theory, this could be done, but I found cheesecloth to be a bit of a bear for this task. I need to get a mesh sieve for this kind of thing next time. Anyways, despite taking a long time, this jam came out quite nice. For a sweeter jam, you probably want to use more sugar because ours is a bit on the tart side. However, I find I like it this way, and it pairs nicely with just a spot of butter on some gluten-free toast.
The following weekend we made a few bottles of a cherry plum cordial-fruit syrupconcoction that goes well with seltzer. I haven’t made any cocktails with it yet but I’m thinking that would be good too.
I also experimented with doing a cherry plum-infused gin, but that was a failed experiment.