Sunday, September 25, 2011

Plump Duck Santa Rosa Plum Preserves

And we're back!

The New England Patriots are back on the field, leaves are a changin', and a cool breeze is in the air (well, actually that's the A/C, since humidity seems to be the weather du jour in fall 2011).  Kicking off the quail after a late summer hiatus is the much anticipated Plum Preserves.

Professor Moriarty lies in waiting behind a brace of plump duck preserves

The 2011 plum season, to tell the truth, kinda sucked.  I kept waiting for the Santa Rosa plums to peak Telltale sign: dozens of bees humming around flats of plums in the farmer's market.  But this year, all I saw were a few endeavoring flies.  But, after weeks of plum sampling, I finally found a small batch that nearly met my criteria: crimson by the skin, followed by sticky sweet flesh in the middle, followed by puckering sour flesh by the pit.

These  ideally should be cracked and bursting with juice, but were good nonetheless. 
 Basically you want a plum that takes you on a journey, and that is so sloppy, you have to eat it over the sink. And I want a plum that takes me back to my kitchen in Englewood, eagerly opening a disintegrating box of bursting, fermenting plums, shipped express from my Grandmother's (now defunct) tree in Santa Monica.  It's hard to know what to buy at the farmer's market--there are so many varietals of plums.  They should be small, round, and ripen from red to deep purple. Some call them Sugar Plums, I've always known them as Santa Rosa Plums. That said, the only way to know you're buying the right kind is to eat one.

This should be much more crimson in color.

The combo of sweet and sour is what makes this a preserve to die for. I used very little sugar (2-3 cups for the 10 pounds of plums purchased) and didn't bother letting it reach setting point (I've previously discussed, I prefer a runny jam).

The preserves in their jars before sterilization.

Achieving "Shelf stabilization" was much easier this time around, although you wouldn't have been able to tell by the state of the kitchen.  And while the fruit didn't quite live up to 2010/childhood expectations, the results were still delightful enough that I'm sure when we finish eating this batch in November, I'll be craving summer all over again.

Nirvana.  Plum preserves over vanilla ice cream.

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