It is time for plums again so this week have been seeking them out. I needed badly to make some worcestershire sauce, as well as about 10 kilos for a bottling class here.
By chance I’d heard of a fruit farm not too far away near the township of Plenty in the Derwent Valley, and daughter Stephanie just happened ot have the man’s phone number. Contact was duly made so Robert and I headed out to buy greengages and whatever other plums the farmer might have.
I prefer damson plums for making worcestershire sauce, though it can be made with any type, so to find this variety was my chief objective. When we arrived at the farm, the owner of the orchards, Michael, offered to show us around. It is like a preserver’s paradise. All sorts of plums grow there – blood plums, Stanleys, sugar plums and very many more varieties besides – a plum for every occasion. Best of all was a whole orchard lane way of damson plums trees, just ripe for the picking. These photos speak for themselves.
Michael’s knowledge of the characteristics of each type of plum was nothing short of astounding – the whys and wherefores of how they would perform in cooking of jams and preserves. Soon the few kilos I’d planned to buy turned into more than 32 kilos!
The plums were at the prefect stage for bottling, both the greengages and other varieties and the damsons were put aside for the worcestershire sauce.
On the day of the bottling class Stephanie also brought around the almost 50kg of nashi fruit to preserve as well. We had a great time with three preserving outfits on the go and the wonderful people who came along volunteered to come back and help us with our own bottling in the afternoon – and they did.
The next day it was time to make worcestershire sauce from the damsons. For anyone who hasn’t made it before, its aroma as it cooks is sensational and the end product exceptional. For anyone who would like to try it, the recipe is to follow.
(By the way, I haven’t even spoken about the mulberries at Michael’s farm, but that I’ll save for the next blog).
This makes about 1.5 litres of sauce. It will keep for years.
It is wonderful for adding to casseroles and sauces to give them a lift. You only need to add at most 1 tablespoon to your average casserole and a couple of teaspoons to a gravy or jus.
1.5kg plums – damsons are best, but you can use any sort
12 cups brown malt vinegar
60g garlic, no need to peel – I cut the cloves in half to release their flavour
2 cups treacle
500g brown sugar
60g ginger root, bruised
15g whole allspice
1 teaspoon cayenne
Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 3 hours, stirring occasionally, squashing the plums against the side of the pot in the process.
Strain the mixture through a colander, pressing down to push through some of the plum pulp. Pour into warm sterilised bottles and seal immediately.