Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Early Friday five: old fashioned plum jam.

Five steps to the finest tasting plum jam in the Czech Republic, to be followed in this exact order:

Step 1 - pick plums. Lots and lots and lots of plums.

it helps if you have goat helpers 

Step 2 - dry plums... or not. For the first batch we made, the plums were left in a brick dry house overnight. The second batch were not. (Other than the difference in time for step 3, it's unclear whether drying them overnight made a difference. Part of the fun of this farming experience was experimentation; our hosts had only done this once before!)

world's largest dehydrator 
(OK, maybe Nemcicky's largest dehydrator) 

Step 3 - boil plums in a copper pot, stirring constantly, over a wood stove until the stones separate. The copper pot is key; something about the copper cooks the plums just right without changing the fruit's chemical makeup. Approximate duration of boiling/stirring: 2-4 hours.

double double 
toil and trouble 

Then pass plums through a wooden strainer to remove the stones and skins...

(hand strain, of course) 

... and put the plum juice back in the copper pot. Stir constantly. And stir. And stir some more.

then? keep stirring... 

Approximate duration of constant stirring: 6-10 hours. No kidding. First batch took about 6 hours of stirring (we helped with about 2 of those hours), second batch took about 10 (we helped with all 10 of those hours).

don't really need a gym 
when you work on a farm 
(but a massage would be nice) 

Step 4 - spoon into small jars for storage and/or sale. (Leave a bowlful out for sampling though.)

careful, careful 

don't forget to top with a little homemade plum brandy 

Step 5 - enjoy!

look what we made!

goes best with homemade goat cheese
and delicious rye bread 

Definitely something we want to try to recreate when we settle back down...

we might start with a much smaller batch though