These last couple of weeks have been rich with harvest. Happy Fall everyone! The other day I was making plum butter, tomato sauce, and pumpkin soup, when one of William Blake’s poems came to mind:
O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stain’d
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou may’st rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.
(Excerpt from the poem “To Autumn”)
And Autumn has truly been singing “the lusty song of fruits” to us in the form of huge quantities of plums! At first I tried to eat as many fresh plums as I could. I like to abide by the rule of eating foods that are in season. But after a while I realized that I wasn’t making too much progress on the huge bowl sitting on our counter. I also abide by another rule: don’t to let food go to waist. However neither my husband nor I are huge fans of jam due to its high amount of sugar. Fortunately for us, our friend and house-mate Naomi showed us how to make fruit roll-ups and plum butter that contain only one ingredient: plums!
According to George Mateljan (2007),
“Plums provide powerful antioxidant protection in both fresh and dehydrated form. They contain a high amounts of unique phytonutrients called neochlorogenic acid and chlorogenic acid. These damage-preventing substances are effective in neutralizing a particularly destructive oxygen radical called super oxide anion radical. These antioxidants have also been shown to help prevent oxygen-based damage to fats, such as the fats that compromise a substantial portion of our brain cells, the cholesterol and triglycerides circulating in our bloodstream and the fats that make up our cell membranes.” (From The World’s Healthiest Foods, Page 425)
After reading this information about the health benefits of plums I got even more invested in the project of preparing the plums!
1. We began the process by washing the delicious fruit. Remember to eat some of them in the process. It is an absolute requirement for this recipe.
2. Then we took out all the pits, which makes it even easier to throw some in your mouth while you’re working. They looked beautiful, and we had bowls and bowls of them.
(I don’t do anything with the pits. They all got composted, but they looked so pretty that I decided to take a picture of them.)
3. Begin by blending the plums in a food processor.
4. Pour the liquid into a large pot and place on the stove at low heat.
5. Simmer it for a couple of hours, scraping the bottom of the pot often.
6. When the consistency of the sauce thickens up, after about three hours, turn off the heat and let it cool down. You can use half of the plums for fruit rolls ups and half for plum butter. For plum butter just place the pot with the half of the plum mixture back on the stove and simmer it for another two hours to thicken it up more. Then leave it to cool off on the counter before you ladle it in a mason jar and place it in the refrigerator. Enjoy it with toast, pancakes, cheese and crackers.
7. Place the second part of the plum mixture onto a dehydrator. You will need the type of dehydrator that has plastic sheets.
8. Dry in the dehydrator for about eight hours, or until plum mixture is firm and supple.
9. Peel it off gingerly. Our friend was a pro at this. I broke my fruit roll up while I was peeling it off.
10. Place plastic wrap underneath it.
11. Roll it up gently.
12. Voila! Fruit rolls-ups you can store in the pantry and snack on any time. Due to my sensitivity to sugar, I can’t eat desert very often. Fruit roll ups are a wonderful, healthier alternative. However, they do have plenty of fructose so I try to eat them only in moderation. The only ingredient on the list is plums! Check out the ingredient list on the commercial fruit roll-ups at the store! They contain both partially hydrogenated cotton seed oil and high fructose corn syrup as well as a plethora of other unnatural ingredients.
I don’t know about you, but my vote goes to these homemade snacks. They are easy to make, delicious, and if you have any left-over plum mixture, you can make more plum butter! This afternoon I had some time for a delicious cup of tea and a piece of sourdough spelt toast spread with plum butter. Yumm!
13. Pofta Buna!