On a walk across a playing field with my mum and boyfriend I noticed lots of yellow blobs on the floor around the surrounding trees. Taking advantage of having my Mum present, a formidable Alys Fowler/Nigella Lawson hybrid , I proferred the fruit to her and asked if she knew what it was
“Its a wild plum, bit like a Mirabelle.”
That was enough for me to insist the three of us gather a small bag full, however most of the fruit on the tree was not quite ripe. I resolved to return in a week or so and in the interim began to notice the plums growing everywhere including the M40 Motorway service stations where the local sparrows were having a fruit fight over them . Probably thankful after a steady annual diet of McDonalds and Costa Coffee.
Before you picture some pastoral idyll, this is an urban area and these trees were planted with the large housing estate some 10 years ago. So perhaps I should have been less surprised that a week later on my return the friendly local council had decided to trim all the hedges plum trees, blackberrys and sloes and by trim I mean of course decimate.
Piles of plums now lay rotting on the ground so I began picking them up attracting a fair amount of canine attention , since small orange plums closely resemble balls most were dying for me to “Just throw the ball!” In fact a lot of the dog walkers were pleased to know the plums were edible, since most of their dogs had scarfed down a dozen or so in the last few weeks week. A few brave walkers even tasted a plum or two for themselves.
Once home I thorough washed the plums, but since I was heading off for a week I wasn’t sure what to do with them, I could have frozen them but I am banned from adding anything else to the already overstuffed freezer so instead I went old school bottling them ( NB this is not proper bottling which would extend their lives for months but will mean the plums will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge.
I plan to make a plum tart , they are also lovely with vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche.
Spiced Wild Plums
1kg of wild plums
1 pint of boiling water
300g of caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
1 star anise
- Place the vanilla , sugar and star anise in a pan of water
- Bring to a gentle simmer until the sugar has disolved
- Add the plums to the syrup and turn off
- Put a jar in the oven at 150degC for 10 minutes
- While still warm pour the plums into the jar.