I promise this is the last post on food, then it is back to normal business—Helvetica, Pantones, letterpress, books—but this simple little jam is too good not to share! It is the product of a plum tree residing in my back garden. Fruit trees were an unknown in our yard growing up in upstate New York. The pear tree my dad planted never did give us any fruit.
We did have blackberry bushes and wild strawberries, but never anything quite like the plum. Which is why, when I noticed this small oval shaped fruit hanging low off a tree in the garden I naively exclaimed “figs”! “No” corrected my landlord Betty Mathews, “plums”.
Her mother had planted the tree 35 years ago. And when they fell off the tree last summer in early August I wasn’t the slightest bit prepared. Before I had time to figure it out, the birds had eaten the best of them. Feeling like I had let a good thing go to waste and not being able to get the mysterious shaped yellow plum out of my head—I wandered over to Omnivore Books to satisfy my fruit curiosity.
I was even curious if I could find a recipe in one of her rare vintage books that matched my plum. I fixated on one recipe for a subject known as the ‘french plum’ that seemed to fit the description of my dear little fruit for a brandied plum. The thought of plums soaking in brandy, becoming toppings for ice cream or the garnish of a cocktail thrilled me. But there was one problem. I was going to have to wait a whole year for my next opportunity.
On another visit to Omnivore, I purchased a book CANNING: For a New Generation, by Liana Krissoff. Her interpretation of a plum jam, with nothing more than plum, lime, sugar, and cardamom became the destiny of my worthy plums. I thought about making a nutrition label, but I doubt more is necessary than those three little words.