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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Plum Season

My dad planted a plum tree in the backyard a few years ago, and this summer he suggested I find some good uses for its fruit since it produces SO many plums, most of which go to waste. I didn't even think I liked plums, but now I am addicted. Here are some good uses for my new favorite fruit.

Cinnamon Plum Jelly
About 3 qt plums, pitted (do not peel)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Box No-Sugar Added Sure-Jell
4-5 cups sugar
2-3 tbsp ground cinnamon

Toss pitted plums in lemon juice and boil down in a large pot. Add cinnamon and Sure-Jell. Add sugar 1 cup at a time, adding more or less than I recommended to meet your taste. Plums can be a little tart so you may want more sugar. Cook slowly for 15-20 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid sticking on the bottom of the pot.
Test the thickness of the jelly with a chilled spoon. To do this, let a spoon sit in a glass of ice cold water until chilled then scoop out a sample of the hot liquid. Let sit out for 5 minutes or so until it cools off and thickens up. This will give you an idea of how thick your finished jelly will be.
When jelly mixture is ready, carefully place in CLEAN canning jars and seal tightly. Then set each jar upside down (lid down) in a small pot of boiling water for a minute or two to help it seal. This is a quick and messy process. Some jars may take up to 24 hours to completely seal.

Purple Plum Pie
4 cups sliced and pitted plums 
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 unbaked deep-dish pastry shell (9 in)
For Topping:

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup oatmeal

Mix all ingredients and pour into pastry shell. For the topping, mix sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and oatmeal. Cut butter in chunks and mix into topping until it makes a crumble. Sprinkle topping on pie and bake at 375 degrees for 50-60 minutes, covering crust edges during the last 20 minutes to keep it from overbrowning. Top with ice-cream or cool whip!

Plum Bread
1 1/2 cups chopped and pitted plums
1 tbsp flour (for plums)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup vanilla yogurt (or half a 6 ounce container)
1/4 cup brown sugar

Toss plums with 1 tbsp floor to coat and set aside. Mix together the butter, white sugar and vanilla until fluffy, then add eggs. In a separate bowl, mix 1 1/2 cup flour with salt and baking soda. Stir these dry ingredients into the egg mixture, alternating with adding yogert until a smooth batter forms. Swirl in plums to batter and carefully pour into a greased 9x5 inch bread loaf pan. Sprinkle brown sugar on top and bake on 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Let cool before removing from loaf pan.

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