Gardening Fix

What to do with plums?

I know I have been talking about plums a lot lately. It is just that they have taken over my life. I think we have harvested 6 or more kilos from our tree and we are not done yet. The thing is you can only eat so many plums in one day! Also, they don’t keep well.

I have used 2 kilos to make plum jam and today I used another 2 kilos to make plum paste – the kind of thing you would have with cheese and crackers.  I have never made a paste like this before but I am pleased with the results.

Heres how:

Plum Paste

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2kg of plums (pips and stalks removed and quartered), 1 and 1/4 cup of water, juice of a small lime or lemon.  If you don’t have so many plums adjust the ratio of plums and water.

Simmer on medium heat until they are soft. Stir occasionally.

Mush up the soft plums with a food processor.  A hand blender is perfect because you can do it in the pot and have fewer sticky things to wash up.

Push the blended mixture through a sieve. The paste will end up a bit like set jelly and be nicer without the pulpy bits. It will be pretty and glossy.

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Weigh your mix and add equivalent weight in sugar.  I ended up with 1880 grams of plum mix so I just threw in a 2kg bag of sugar.  No need to be exact.

Now, for the bit that requires some tenacity.  You don’t want this stuff to stick to the bottom of your pan. You have to stand there and stir and stir.

First of all, dissolve the sugar over low heat (don’t let it boil).  As you go, brush any sugar off the sides of a pan with a wet brush. This reduces the risk of the paste crystalising when it cools.

When you are sure the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat a bit and simmer and stir and simmer and stir. It could take an hour.

If the mix sticks the bottom of your pan you have to pour it out, clean the pan and then start stirring afresh in the clean pan.

Put a spoonful or two of the mix in a ceramic dish and into the freezer. When after five minutes it has become the texture of a paste, you are done!

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Pour the hot paste into a shallow dish lined with baking paper. Later when it sets, you can cut it into squares and put them in individual plastic containers. Store in the fridge and give away to friends and enemies you are trying to sweeten.

It’s very sweet and I think will suit a nice bitey cheese like Mersey Valley.

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