Sunday, 23 December 2012

Pilfered plums

Today we pilfered plums. Well, maybe not pilfered - gleaned.

Along the side of public roads in our area and on no-one in particular's land, there are a multitude of different wild fruit trees. They are stoic souls - they sit un-tendered, un-fertilised and un-pruned, un-watered and survive droughts and neglect and produce. So far, on our occasional journeys to the local little smoke, we have spotted figs, apples, plums, apricots and others we know are fruit trees but right now we are not sure which type. All results of a little stone tossing from the car window?

Today we came across a plum tree loaded with ripe fruit. The fruit was small -  so small in fact that at first glance I thought we had happened upon a cherry tree. On closer inspection we were equally delighted to find the tree laden with ripe, red, tart plums. I like my fruit tart.

We gleaned about 3 kgs in my hat partly (which thankfully happens to be plum coloured), but also in one of our shopping bags. We left plenty for others and also for the birds.

On return home, I contemplated the options - eating them fresh?,  plum jam?, a spicy plum sauce to eat with cold meats? stewed plums for stashing and having hot  in winter? I went for a spicy plum sauce and pretty much made a recipe up.

It was a crazy day to make anything hot let alone a jammy sauce - it was 35C here today and is still at 7pm, 30C. I didn't take note of quantities (except for the weight of the plums), but here is what went in it.

Spicy pilfered plum sauce
apple grated
lemon rind grated
cider vinegar
a few over ripe peaches that needed using up
pepper corns
coriander seeds
mustard seeds
ground cumin
ground ginger
ground cinnamon
dried chilli flakes

The plums were so small that it was best not to try to extract the pips before cooking, rather I put it all ingredients in a saucepan and cooked till the fruit fell off the pip then laboriously took the pips out of the cooked mixture - I suspect I have missed a few -  take care teeth.

Here is the result.

That's a lot of spicy plum sauce so some of it might become post-Christmas gifts.

Do you know the best thing about today's adventure? I couldn't find a fruit fly maggot - perhaps we are fruit fly free here.

Do you glean? What are you gleaning at the moment? What trees are you eyeing-off for a future raid?


  1. I love pilfering/gleaning fruit! When we drive out country we often come across trees and try to take note of where they are. I love a good blackberrying along the creek near my place which never seem to be sprayed thank goodness. We've lost a few blackberrying places to plant poisonings, though I appreciate they are a noxious weed. But such a tasty one. There's also an apple tree in an empty paddock adjoining a shopping center which I'm anxiously watching to see if there are fruits for picking...

    1. I have my eye on our blackberries. I think I will have to develop a way of both picking fruit and also controlling them. I think some sort of rotation...Good luck with the apple harvest.

  2. Lucky you. I do have a mulberry tree near the scout hall that I wrote about early spring sometime. But I use to pick blueberries near Wimbledon common when living in London, if only we had blackberry bushes near us

    1. Yummm, mulberries. I will plant some mulberries here actually, they are such lovely trees with their shady big leaves.

  3. Unfortunately, no gleaning for me, these days. Everything seems to get sprayed or chopped down, now. When I was young, there were abundant blackberries, apples, mushrooms and native cherries to be found. Not to mention the yabbies!

    I'll have to stick to harvesting what I grow myself. Very satisfying, though.

    1. Nice childhood memory. Oh well, if you are ever up on the Snowy Mountains Hwy there is plenty here to pick.

  4. earlier in the year i gleaned some peaches and stewed them. I later returned and picked most of the fruit as it was dropping i made about 8 large jars of jam. Am hoping to do the same this year but unless we get more rain the fruit wont be worth picking.

  5. I'm eyeing off seaweed! Trying to work out whether I can acquire some from the beach to use as a fertiliser/mulch.
    One of these days I'm even going to try to find out if it's illegal to take it from the beach or not...

    I like your plum story, though - wish we had fruit trees just hanging out on our nature strips!

    1. I'm with you on this Christine... I fancy a bit of free seaweed! You must let me know if its ok to take it from beaches.



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