Friday, September 13, 2013

harvest 2013: backyard damsons

back in August, I spent a couple days in Portland visiting a friend and washing her apartment's floors. Ha, I know that sounds strange. But she'd been a bit down and needed a boost. I came down to cook and clean for her for a few days; I think life gets much more manageable when you come home from work to find your apartment shining, flowers on the table, and dinner ready - you know what I mean?

On the first day there, I swept the alley behind her apartment clear so I could make trips to the recycling/garbage/compost as I prepared dinner. There was a damson plum tree back there, growing over the fence from a neighbour's yard and little plums had fallen all over the place.

This was an opportunity!

Before I headed home, I took a plastic bag from the kitchen and filled it with damsons, a good 8 quarts of them once I'd halved and pitted them and thrown them into a saucepan.

I cooked these with a little water and some lemon juice and lemon zest until they'd begun to break down. I put them through a food mill to make a mash and then continued to cook them with some spices (cloves, I think, and cardamom pods and who knows what else), adding just a little sugar and a splash of brandy near the end...

at which point I had reduced eight quarts to just over six cups of rich, yummy plum butter.
I regret not saving a couple to make plum dumplings for Cass. On the other hand, I found a recipe for trdlniky on the web. Stay tuned; I might actually jury-rig a trdlo and make myself some plum trdlnik this autumn. (You can take the girl out of Prague, but apparently you can't stop her from contemplating Czech pastry.)

No comments: