Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Something for the Pantry Shelf - What to do with Purple Plums - January

I am extremely lucky in that I do have a fairly good veg and fruit shop.  Quite frequently I have picked up a bowl of plums for £1 reduced because they are a little past their best  - not that you would notice a lot of the time and the weight usually being around the 1kg area. They are still good to eat as they are and I frequently have a bowl in just for munching or to be more correct for other half to munch on.  I try and have a regular supply of fresh fruit most weeks and it is either eaten fresh or turned into something else. As this is a resource that is open to me I am making the most of it but it maybe something that could be turned into something for your larder/pantry shelf especially if you are on a budget or have to do things a bit at a time.  To my mind finding a recipe you like is key to most cooked items.  Sometimes in the past things have gone wrong, usually whatever is still edible but perhaps not quite to your liking.  There is always a way to use things up.

To my mind if fruit and veg is not used up then it is wasted and really there is no room for waste we should be using everything up and if there is still raw waste then compost it yourself rather than sending it to landfill.  When I say "wasted" I am referring more specifically to the shop reductions which then end up in the landfill.  To my mind every town and City should be able to recycle this into hot meals for people on the streets or circulate it to families or individuals who are struggling to feed themselves.  We should all be able to eat and should look after our own.  

Now by rights I prefer seasonal cooking.  It brings Rhyme and reason to my life.  In reality however we have to take advantage of that, which comes our way.  I have slotted this into things to do for January because I have found them available at this time and it is a quieter part of the year.  Jams, sauces, chutneys, fruit leather, plum cheese, bottled plums in syrup (canned/bottled) and then be served as pudding with some custard or cream.  You can also freeze them.  I quite frequently freeze puree apple and then cook it up so it is nice and hot and then serve in a bowl with a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream.  Hot and cold and very tasty.

Having access to the plums though is for me in any event a cheap way to make plum wine.  You need about 4lb plums to make 1 gallon of wine.

At the moment however I am particularly thinking Christmas Chutney for this coming Christmas.  Yes already.  Chutney does need at least six weeks maturation after cooking.  Chutney lasts a lot longer than one year though as do a lot of home preserved foods.  There is a super recipe here Christmas Chutney for Christmas  and although not this week I am aiming to squirrel a couple of batches of this away into the pantry in readiness for next Christmas.  I anticipate making at least a couple of batches which will form the basis of my hampers for this coming Christmas.  I may well make another couple of other batches after that.  I am considering whether to do a couple of small Christmas orientated fairs later on in the year so anything like this will be a good put up in readiness.

I also intend to make some of my Chinese Plum Five Spice sauce which will be canned.  It goes very well with home cooked pork ribs along with some elderberry jelly. I blend the two ingredients with a little honey as well and a little home made mustard to devil it.  Looks a bit sticky but ends up tasting lovely.

One of the other things I like to achieve for the pantry shelf is a different coloured preserve.  These plums although not native to the UK are still a nice dark plum so the jelly or the sauce is a nice dark colour.  Victoria plums my preference of the English plums give a lovely pinky red jelly or jam.  So everything can have a use a reason and a season.  Making the most of whatever comes your way is the key to everything.  You can never have too much plum jelly in the pantry as it can be used as the base for a sauce and specifically stir fry.

Catch you soon.




  1. Can you share your recipe for five-spice sauce please?

  2. Hi Angela, will look it out for you. Kind regards Tricia x


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