No I’ve not finally lost my grasp of the English language … plums are a big thing in our lives at the moment, literally falling at our feet from the trees at the back of the house. In fact one morning there were even a couple of fruits there to greet us on the step outside the caravan – there’s just no escape! We open the door and it’s the first smell that hits us each day … a sweet, fresh perfume of sun-warmed plums … and at the moment it’s the best smell in the world (but ask me again in a couple of weeks when everything has matured that little bit more in the sunshine, and the garden smells of jam!)
All fourteen trees have very drooping branches, full of the tiny purple fruits at varying stages of ripeness and as we walk around the garden or down the driveway we can’t help but pop a couple (or fifteen) of them in our mouths as we pass. We’ve three different types, the majority being the small purple ‘Susine’ plum in the photos, we have another tree next to the ‘fienile’ with small yellow plums and a final tree at the edge of the garden area which goes by my very descriptive name of larger yellow plums (I really need to find out what their proper names are … I have asked a couple of people, but every time I am given a choice of names in various different dialects so I’m still none the wiser!)
The main photo above is just three days’ worth of plums, that have fallen from just the four trees next to the house, and are scattered every morning amongst our herb bed and in front of the ‘cantina’ – almost 6 kilos – and we’ve just gathered our third lot this morning so I reckon we’re easily on 15 kilos so far! Luckily we made a trip back to see friends at the campsite the other day and managed a big giveaway to cries of ‘Grazie’, ‘Buone’ and ‘Molto gentili’ – all the while we’re thanking our lucky stars that they were a welcome gift, especially since two days later we had the same amount again.
Instead of rushing into a spot of jam making (it’s far too hot at the moment to have anything boiling on any type of fire) I’m tackling the preserving of the plums every couple of days. When we’ve gathered the plums on a morning and eaten our fill, or found another unsuspecting group of friends or even just random passers-by to give them to, I sit at our outside table and wash and de-stone the fruits, filling bags full of one kilo measures, and then deposit them into our chest freezer. Later on I can decide what to do with them but at least now they are preserved, ready at a moment’s notice to create the aforementioned jam, a crumble in Autumn, or some sort of plum ‘liquore’ … a plumoncello!
The half dozen ‘Susine’ trees alongside the ‘orto’ have an extra treat in store for the unsuspecting plum-eater … every few fruits have a little wriggling surprise inside in the form of a little grub or worm … so we’re calling these our Tequila plums! After a bit of reading up on the Internet it seems these trees may have been attacked by some sort of moth or insect which lays its eggs in the fruit. However we’ve plans for a big trimming session and a general tidy up of this very overgrown area for next year so should soon have this sorted (not that we’re desperate for the extra bounty), but in the meantime I don’t think we’ll suffer for having a little bit more protein in our diet!
And for those language buffs amongst you – plums in Italian is ‘prugne’. Being similar to our word for a dried plum, I asked one of our friends what word they used for prunes, or ‘prugne secche’ – without missing a beat she replied ‘SunSweet!’