We have three plums trees in our front yard. Shortly after moving here I was talking with our trash collector, Mark, who prefers the name “G” Man. He told me that the plums on the tree in the front corner of our property are the best he has ever eaten. He told me that all the years this place sat vacant, he ate the plums from that tree. He told me he pulled right up to the tree and picked as many as he wanted. He also told me he was going to continue doing so even though the house is no longer vacant. I agreed, but warned him that I would occasionally be putting out extra bags of trash, not in the can, and he would be expected to take them. He agreed, not realizing that I would also be putting out old sinks and bags of chicken manure. His truck passed me on the road one day, laden I am sure, with bags of chicken manure. He rolled the window down and yelled “It’s almost plum time.” I smiled, knowing what was in those bags.
Another neighbor told me she always stops on her way past our place to pick ripe plums. She too said she was still planning to do so. Between the “G” Man, Nikki, the deer, the birds, and the bees I have wondered if there would be any left for me!
I got out there early this morning with my new fruit picker with twelve foot extension and, before I knew it I had a huge load of plums. I couldn’t carry it back to the house so I had to drag it. I was able to lift it up on the patio table and weigh the plums. I had forty pounds of plums! I had to weigh them in eight batches on my postal scale. I had this big graniteware pot full as well as another bucket full.
My plan was to make a big pot of plum jam and can it in pint jars. Potential mayhem occurred when our dishwasher stopped functioning properly today. Any 21st Century home canner knows you sterilize your jars in the dishwasher. For crying out loud, I gave away the brand new dishwasher when we moved in and replaced it with one that had a sanitize cycle. Why? So I could sterilize canning jars.
I could not let these plums down, to say nothing of The “G” Man, Nikki, the deer, the birds, and the bees. Michael worked on the dishwasher and I started making the jam.
To my horror, the recipe said to make it in batches of only 3 pounds of fruit at a time because otherwise it would not set. That’s 13.3 batches of plum jam I would have to make to use my 40 pounds of plums! I couldn’t do it. I cheated and tripled the recipe, using nine pounds of plums at a time. And even with that I only got through one batch. I quartered and cored plums while the dishwasher ran a test cycle.
Look at the gorgeous color. You get that by cooking the plums with the skins on and then using a ricer or food mill to separate the pulp from the skins.
I am happy to report, fifteen hours after picking, nine of my forty pounds of ripe plums became nine pints of plum jam! My kitchen is a disaster zone. I don’t care. I am tired and going to bed. Only four more batches to go!