In our little Owl Wood there is a plum tree, an unusually tall plum tree, far too high to harvest without the aid of a very long ladder. Luckily it ripens just before the smaller plum trees, and plums fall onto the woodland floor. This is my signal to check to see how the others are doing, to think about how soon we can begin to 'harvest' them.
Will they ripen before rain stops the harvest in the fields and the Farmer T turns his attention to hedge trimming and other maintenance jobs until the weather improves?
This is the first dish of tart and tangy plums.
We don't eat them as plums, nor do we make jam or preserves with them.
All of these, and more, were turned into wild plum coulis. We make it every year and treat like the seasonal treat that it is, something to be enjoyed to the full and then eagerly anticipated next year.
These wonderful baubles of dark purple and blue are washed, picked over, any stalks are removed and then they are placed in a heavy stainless steel saucepan, with just a little water. Put the saucepan lid on, then gently bring them to the boil and simmer for a few minutes.
No sugar, no additives. We keep it very simple.
Once they are soft I remove them from the heat. Allow them to cool a little and then rub the resulting mush through a sieve. Use a wooden spoon and take your time. Enjoy the jammy, plummy aroma and soak up that wonderful colour.
We like to swirl that rich red bounty through thick Greek yogurt. One of these days I will get around to experimenting a little, using it in other recipes...perhaps in one of those bumper crop years.
Meanwhile, we'll keep on enjoying it in this deliciously simple way.
There is a lovely basinful sitting in the fridge, that will last a few days. Then the memory of this seasonal treat will have to satisfy us until next year. Unless I find some more wild plums, of course.
I also need to get out there and pick some sloes, cousin to the wild plum and even more tart. We could make them into jam or add them to chutneys, etc but this year I intend to make several bottles of sloe gin, they make wonderful Christmas presents.
Of course, this all depends on whether I can get some picked before the farmers trim back the hedges...
The farmers try to harvest before the rains come and we try to harvest before the farmers come and destroy the hedgerow bounty. Busy times in the countryside.