Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Hidden little morsels

Maybe it's just me and the sheltered life I led growing up in Norf London - but I never knew that there was another little layer, tucked inside the stone of a plum. I made another trip to Parkside Farm for some more fruit-jammy-goodness last weekend, and one of the things picked was a bag of Victoria Plums.

Following a recipe from the 'Good Housekeeping Guide to Jam' I noticed that alongside the usual fruit and sugar, you can also crack open some of the plum stones, to reveal the kernel, which are added to the jam whilst cooking. These look like teeny tiny almonds, so I ate one. If you're a fan of marzipan, they are absolutely delicious, as the closest thing to it really - much more so than untreated almonds. Although extremely labour intensive, I'd be interested to see how marzipan made from plum kernels would taste - quite an absurd thought really (although not as absurd as David's desire to make Trout Cheek Pate!) Where was I? Oh yes... Anyway, they add to the flavour apparently, and are also the main source of pectin in a plum, so important if you want your jam to set.

I can highly recommend it too.... it turned out almost apricot-like, although I imagine this depends on which type of plums you go for.

Plum Jam
Makes about 5 lb

3 lb Plums (stoned before weighing)
3 lb Golden Granulated Sugar
A few kernels from the stones
1 pint of water

* I did add a small squeeze of lemon juice too, as I suffer from paranoia that my jam won't set, this also can bring out the flavour of fruit, but may not be needed.

Wash, stone and halve the plums and put in a large saucepan or maslin pan. Cover with the water and simmer gently for about half an hour (take care to simmer gently and stir frequently, or the plums will stick to the bottom of the pan and burn). Once this has reduced down to a good mix take the pan off the heat and stir in the sugar until all has dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for about 5 minutes. Test for a set, and once ready fish out the kernels before potting and labeling in the usual way.

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