We are blessed in Canberra, town planners included many wonderful fruit bearing trees when they planned those that would line the suburban streets. There is one street in Braddon planted entirely with walnuts. There are several streets planted with plums. I am most interested in one particular plum. For the purposes of this post, I will call it the ‘Canberra’ plum. It grows on an attractive tree with dark burgundy leaves. The fruit is small, the same colour as those leaves, and dark all the way through. It has a deep, rich flavour but has a bitterness on the skin and seed.
I was recently on Canberra’s 666 ABC radio talking about preserving these and other, wild foods. I had a great time with Lish Fejer. I took her in a few wild greens, as well as some of my preserved wild fruits. It made me realise it’s about time I posted the recipe for my plum and ginger sauce, made with those abundant dark cherry plums. You can pick these plums before they’re ripe. If the plums are still firm, they’ll add a lovely tartness to the sauce and will still be full of rich flavour. You don’t need to pit them for this recipe; you’ll push the fruit pulp through a sieve and discard the seeds and skins later. The plums ripen at vastly different times across Canberra. Those in Braddon can be picked in early December, but those on the south side are fine well into January.
Wash the plums. Place them in a large saucepan with the vinegar. Slice the ginger and add it to the pot. Bring the contents to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes, or till the plums fall apart.
Pour the contents of the pan through a fine sieve, pushing through the plum pulp. When you have only seeds, skins and ginger left in the sieve, discard the solids.
Add the sugar to the plum pulp and bring to a boil.
Pour into sterilised bottles and process in a water bath for 30 minutes.