Thursday, 23 June 2011

A Real Plum Spot

Miraculously, just as the cherry trees were starting to look a little empty – I spotted a Cherry Plum tree that was laden with ripening fruit. I tried a couple, then quickly filled my empty sandwich box and headed back.
My First Cherry Plums of 2011
These beautiful little fruits are always simple to spot because people do not often bother to crop them at all, hence you tend to notice the fruity mess, squashed all over the pavement.
Squashed Messy Fruit - Look Up!
Cherry plums come in many colours and will differ likewise in taste but they will all cook nicely. I have seen Red, Yellow Purple and Green varieties, all of which taste great straight off the tree. It is easy to tell when they are ready for harvesting, as they will be falling of their own accord and should come off into your hand just by touching.
Many Colours but all Plums
Closely related fruits are the Greengage, Damson, Bullace and Wild Plum. Again, they vary greatly in size, taste and colour but all can be eaten or cooked.
The Usual Suspects
It’s worth remembering (especially if you have young children) that the pavement is not always the best place to pick from, especially if it is beside a busy road. Fortunately, there is often a field on the other side of the hedge, so this is where your young pickers should be installed.
Green Plums - Possibly Bullace
These tasty hedgerow fruits can be eaten straight of the tree or made into Pies, Jam, Chutney, Cordial, Schnapps, Wine and a hundred other lovely things. Most recipes that I know do not include the stones, so you might as well take them out as soon as you get home, if you intend to cook with them.
Red Cherry Plums
You can then freeze the halves in the same way as I described for cherries. Of course, they will keep on the windowsill (as they are) for a while, if you just want to eat them as the fancy takes you.
Pitted and Ready to Freeze
It might be worth experimenting a little with drying these fruits – home made prunes anyone? Actually these things often taste a lot nicer than they sound.
Another Loaded Tree Waiting to be Turned into Chutney, Jam or Pies
I think it may be about time to get the child supported blanket out again and shake a tree or two this weekend.


  1. Gees, that's a lot of colours for one fruit! Me and my dad found a whole row of laden plum trees at broadmarsh. There were these lovely yellow ones which pretty much burst when you touched them, they were so ripe. There was also some much more firm deep red plums, and some red-and-green ones too. There was also about four strange tiny deep purple plums that looked like cherries but tasted like greengages. I think they must all be cherry plums. And they were all very nice. We ended up making a plum, blackberry and apple jam with ginger, cinnamon and cloves in it. We are saving it for Christmas though. Hope it's nice!

  2. That jam sounds delicious - would make a great Xmas gift too. Do share how you made it and I can put it up on the community website.

  3. This is an old post, but 2 trees in the new backyard look like cherry plums. The red leafed tree has dark red fruit, bigger than a large cherry.
    The other has green leaves, and the fruit is also green with occasional yellow and blush spots. I am unfamiliar with these trees, but this fruit will NOT go to waste. I come from a foraging family that raided wild trees and brambles for years. How can I tell when they are ripe? Especially the green ones? Any ideas for preserving other than jam (which my kids are demanding!) ?
    Thanks for any ideas!

  4. I have made wine from these small plums and also chutney. Both recipes should be in the blog somewhere.
    When they are ripe, the fruit should just fall off into your hand with very little effort. I guess you could wait until some begin to fall of their own accord.
    You are lucky to have them so close to home, enjoy!

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