Peaches and pears and plums - oh my!
Sep 7, 2013 / 5:00 am
This time of year I always think of the phrase "an embarrassment of riches" when I see the bounty at the fruit stands. We are so fortunate to have so much variety in such abundance. I am a product of my upbringing and I feel guilty when I see food going to waste, so I am constantly trying to think of ways to use it. We have made jam, chutney, dried fruit, fruit juice, frozen fruit, tomato sauce... you get the picture. I don't have enough friends to whom I can give this stuff! Side note: If you'd like to be my friend, just like my Facebook page :)
I have talked about peaches (see my blog post Where did the summer go?) and now that we are inundated by the other fall fruit I thought I should catch you up on my enthusiasm. Don't feel like you have to be as crazy as I am about making use of all this fruit. I just hope that you will find your own way to enjoy it.
When I was a kid pears were something that weren't exactly enticing in the grocery stores of Calgary. They were sickly yellow - overripe and bruised, and they tasted mealy and flat. I thought the best way to eat a pear was out of a can. Now I know better. Almost every morning in September, I eat a pear fresh out of the orchard and I have to tell you, it is an ethereal experience. I stand there in the morning light with my toes in the grass munching on something that tastes like a combination of jasmine flowers, honey, orange blossom, and a pear essence I only knew from room fragrance and soap as a child. The texture is crisp and juicy at the same time, with a sensual delicacy and inner strength that seems to represent the transitions to autumn. I think the best way to capture that beautiful complexity is to poach them in wine. You can check out my recipe on my Happy Gourmand blog.
Plums are fun - there are many kinds, colours and flavours. They can be eaten fresh, or made into pie or tarts or coffee cakes. They can also be made into all kinds of jams and chutneys. At Rabbit Hollow, we make sweet and savoury jams, to go with all kinds of foods. Damson jam is the most coveted jam I make; it is my husband's favourite, and the most unique of all the plum jams we do. They are finicky little things, damsons, with pits that are almost half of the fruit. You have to pit them before you make jam which is arduous work. But it's worth it. The nondescript greenish yellow flesh takes on the most marvelous red tint from the skin when you cook it. (The jam is simple, you use sugar in almost equal proportions to the fruit. We like it less sweet so I have cut it down a bit to get a tarter but slightly more runny jam.) Further side note: you have to be a really good friend to get a jar of this stuff.
If you have never made jam, it's nothing to be afraid of - easier than pie, really. We are planning to do a few preserve-making courses at Rabbit Hollow as part of our calendar of events next summer - if you're interested, sign up for our newsletter on Martin's website. But you can just eat the fruit too, if you like. This time of year I heartily believe it is worth eating it as fresh as possible, letting the juice run down your chin. Really, you should try it. Life is short and dry cleaning is not that expensive. Just sayin'...
Read more Happy Gourmand articles
- A great idea back in Vogue Nov 30
- What's in your lunchbox? Nov 23
- Isn’t it funny... Nov 16
- Coffee and a donut Nov 9
- All by myself Nov 2
- Fun out with friends Oct 26
- Fairytale season Oct 12
- A sense of place Oct 5
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