Often calling them “hog plums,” since the beasts would often beat you to the punch, these sweet and sour little fruits make for a delicious summer delicacy in several fashions – jelly, jam, conserve, fritter, or crunch. Nothing easier than fresh picked fruit mixed with a few ingredients and served with ice cream – delish!
In early spring, bright pink to white blossoms cover gray sticks of wild plum bushes across the Deep South. Striking against a newly blue spring sky or a gray sky of a lingering winter, these blossoms are the first sign of a summer treat. Several varieties and species can be found across the region and harvest can begin as early as June and extend well into the summer.
Past the beauty of their floral stems, the plums begin as a gorgeous green and can be enjoyed from their tartest of tart green stage or allowed to sweeten on the bush, turning a beautiful array of, well, plum colored shades from apricot colored, to red, to purples, and even pinks and yellows. Having a mix of the plums’ color and ripeness in a dish adds texture and flavor. Plus, they are just beautiful on their own in a dish or bowl as a seasonal decoration, bring the garden indoors to enjoy aesthetically.
If wild plums are not at your fingertips, then find some delicious specimens from your local farmer, garden market, or fruit stand. You can always mix them with blackberries and peaches for “summer basket” cobbler or tart. Try pairing some deep amethyst and aubergine colored plums with hydrangeas and blackberries for a gorgeous summer tableau…you just can’t beat the easy garden elegance of bowls and jars and even pitchers of the season’s best. Experiment with plum relishes and jellies as parings with pork or chicken glazes…a stuffed pork loin or chop with plums and pecans – yum yum yum! From this Farmer’s garden, I hope you find your niche with wild plums or garden fresh plums for a taste of one of the summer’s best fruits – just plum delicious ya’ll!
Farmer’s Wild Plum Crunch
- 2 cups of small wild plums, washed, pitted, and split in two
- Half a cup of brown sugar…more or less depending on sweetness of the plum
- 1 Tablespoon of local honey
- Juice and zest of half a lemon
- Half a cup of all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
***combine the above ingredients in a bowl and then pour into a buttered baking dish.
For the topping
- 1 heaping cup of old fashioned oats
- ¾ cup of pecan pieces
- ¼ cup of brown sugar
- ¾ a stick of cold butter, cubed
- ½ a teaspoon of salt