After an extremely busy Spring at The Antique Gardener, Summer has arrived. Our days are filled with working in the Big Garden at home, watering at the shop and hanging out with the kids.
Dusty, Jack and Emma picked a bunch of Santa Rosa plums for me the other day.
Santa Rosa plums are delicious. They have a sweet/tart flavor and when they are really ripe the juice just dribbles down your chin. Usually the birds devour them before we can get any picked. This year we had a big crop so I think there are enough for all of us!
I had a lot of fun taking pictures of plums in our new kitchen. In the background is a galvanized water trough...in the house! It's a great old tub and we put a couple of old boards on top to make a unique "behind the sofa table". Before we put the wood top on it Emma thought we should raise baby chicks in the house!
The dusty silver film on plums is called 'bloom'. It is actually a naturally occurring wax and is produced by the fruit itself. You can wipe the bloom off resulting in a shiny plum or eat it with the 'bloom on'. Maybe you can see the birds got to one of these!
Emma and I decided to make plum jelly. I wasn't sure if we had enough so we headed out to pick some more. Emma thought we needed some leaves for the pictures. I think she was totally right!
Before you can make plum jelly you need to make plum juice. Emma and I cut up the plums and added a cup and half of water then brought the entire thing to a boil.
Once it came to a boil I turned down the heat and simmered the plums for 10-15 minutes. After a while it begins to turn a little soupy but is a beautiful pink color. It also smells amazing!
So, after straining the above through cheesecloth I was able to squeeze out almost five cups of plum juice. I then followed the directions in the package of SureJell to make our jelly. Basically you add water to your strained juice until you have five and a half cups. Add the packet of SureJell and bring to a boil. Quickly add seven cups of sugar - make sure you have it all measured out ahead of time. Bring to a full rolling boil for one minute - make sure you stir constantly!
As you can see, Emma thinks the finished product is pretty yummy. One word of caution...Emma helps me with the prep but I make her stay away while the jelly is boiling. It is so hot and not safe for kids to be around.
Once the jelly has finished boiling you quickly pour it into your prepared jars. I top my jelly with a layer of melted paraffin wax. It quickly seals jelly or jam and allows you to use a variety of different jars.
Here is our finished product! The extra went into a ramekin and we enjoyed for dinner on hot biscuits. I have to say it does taste pretty good - sweet but a little tart too. It definitely tastes like summer!!!
Our family has decided to sell our extra garden goods at the shop this year. The kids will be selling fresh picked plums this week. Check our Facebook page for our "Farm Stand" updates.